2018 | DIR. CHRISTIAN GUDEGAST | REVIEW BY SHAUN CRAWFORD.
Set in the bank robbery capital of the world, L.A. (there’s a heist every 48-minutes, apparently) it has Scotsman - Gerard Butler - as ‘Big’ Nick, the leader of a by-any-means-necessary County Sheriffs unit dedicated to stopping bank robbers.
He’s a rough-around-edges kinda guy who marches to the beat of his own drum (one sequence where he’s eating donuts from a blood-spattered box on the ground at a crime scene is particularly revealing) who is having familial problems and doesn’t mind letting his fists do the talking.
On the flip side, there’s Merriman (Pablo Schreiber), a slick, calculating professional thief who runs his band of brothers with logic and precision. When Merriman and his crew hatch a plan to rob the one bank in LA that has never been robbed, the holiest-of-holies, the Federal Reserve, Big Nick and the boys do everything they can to get in their way. From here it’s a game of cat-and-mouse as each group tries to outsmart and outplay the other while the stakes escalate.
First time director Christian Gudegast does a workmanlike job handling the sprawling saga, conjuring a gritty, boots-on-the-ground feel that is one of the films strongest points. There’s more than a hint of Mann in his neon-slicked compositions and his synth-heavy score, and even more in his depiction of serious professional people doing serious professional things.
An aging Gerard Butler growls his way through the plot seemingly enjoying his chance to play a proper dirty character. This is possibly the most interesting thing he’s ever done, finally getting a bit of range and dichotomy and not simply relying on his extraordinary physique to carry the lion’s share of the character.
Schrieder, on the other hand, has less to do aside from looking cold and detached, but as an adversary to Big Nick and his litany of problems, it’s a necessary counterpoint.
It’s not as action-packed as you might think and it should get credit for not sacrificing the smaller, more intimate moments in lieu of full-throttle street battles (that being said, when it does kick-off it kicks off in a spectacular way), but what you really have to tip your hat to is the sheer bravado of aiming at getting into the same echelons as Michael Mann’s trademark territory. You need a wheelbarrow to carry around those kind of cajones.