|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Originaltitel:||Den of Thieves|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 124 Min|
|FSK:||From 16 years|
Los Angeles holds a sad record when it comes to the number of robberies on banks and money transporters. Beside many small thieves there are also some well organized gangs, which get the police again and again through the rags. So did the team around ex-Stäfling Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber), who have already cleared a lot of money with perfectly planned robberies. But when a robbery of a money transporter ends in a bloodbath, the tough cop Nick O'Brian (Gerard Butler) and his unit get on their trail. A merciless cat and mouse game begins, but it doesn't stop the gangsters from planning their biggest coup so far: the attack on the Federal Reserve Bank in Downtown L.A. …
Admittedly, my expectations of "Criminal Squad" weren't particularly high. So-called "Heist-Movies", which deal with perfectly planned assaults - mostly with the gangsters as (anti-)heroes - have not only existed since the "Ocean`s"-trilogy like sand at the sea. And also cop thrillers with rough heroes are not a rarity and often more in the area of B-movies. But already after a few minutes it seemed that this strip could offer really good entertainment. And this impression was more than confirmed in the course of a little more than two hours. Surely, screenwriter Christian Gudegast ("London has Fallen"), who makes his directorial debut here, does not reinvent the genre. There are also some clichés that are often used - not to mention the fact that in some scenes the logic seems to completely fade away.
That doesn't change the fact that the thriller offers damn good entertainment, some well done moments of tension and neat action sequences. On a dramaturgical level, the film can profit from the fact that it lets the viewer participate in the work of the investigators as well as in the preparations of the gangsters, blurring the boundaries between good and evil again and again - because Nick and his troupe are cops, but their methods move only very close to the limits of legality. Here, the movie also benefits from the fact that Gerard Butler obviously had a lot of fun not playing the hero with a clean slate, but one who also gets his hands dirty to achieve what he thinks is right.
Except for some small lengths in the first third and some logic holes in the finale, with "Criminal Squad" Gudegast has delivered an absolutely successful genre contribution, which doesn't necessarily offer much intellectual depth, but nevertheless shows a pleasant complexity. And above all, he made a movie that entertains its target audience really well, both in quieter moments and in the action sequences that are staged with great craftsmanship. But there is a very clear one: Absolutely worth seeing!
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