To some, Gerard Butler made his way into their memory banks back in the late 90's with his role in movies like Tomorrow Never Dies, One More Kiss, or Dracula.
He had a few decent roles in that first decade on screen, but the first time I can remember seeing him was as Creedy in Reign of Fire. After that movie it seems he was considered for even better movies with leading roles.
In fact, only four years after the release of that incredibly charred dragon drama he was cast as King Leonidas in 300. Then, three years after that he hits the screen as Frank in one of my favorite gaming inspired movies - Gamer.
Playing the smart mouth protagonist, tough guy, or lady's man definitely suits Gerard Butler, but there was something much more raw about his role as Big Nick in Den of Thieves.
In case you haven't seen it, and the spoiler warning in the title of this post hasn't stopped you from reading this far, let's do the bullet points.
Nick and his crew of semi-corrupt, plain-clothed detectives take on the case of an apparent botched robbery that left several offices dead. The event itself is how the movie kicks off and it sure as hell sets the bar for any and all scenes of gore and visceral detail.
With blinding speed Nick figures out exactly who was involved, almost like any real detective work wasn't a priority in this film - about detectives.
That's because Den of Thieves is a much better story if you leave all that out, as it's the questionable tactics the crew employ, and Nick's constant attempts at psyching out Merriman and his buddies that steals the show.
There is no need in spoiling the movie, and this isn't meant to be a review. I honestly enjoyed Den of Thieves, the cunning plans and heists, and the twist at the end which completely snuck up on me.
Within the first ten minutes, Butler's character profile starts to get crammed down your throat, and in a nutshell; he's a drunk, with a short fuse.
I don't know whether he had to have saline injections, fake skin in makeup, or was on a 2 hour a night sleep routine, but Gerard Butler looks like refried shit that was eaten and then shit out again. Or, maybe the director actually had him slamming whisky every night because Nick seems completely authentic.
Let me throw out a fair comparison which I feel may be part of the reason Butler's acting in Den of Thieves will stick with me for a long time to come.
Four years ago, my wife and I were on our Honeymoon in Thailand. On one humid and romantic night I made the completely sane choice to drink three buckets of bourbon and coke. Now, when I say buckets I'm not exaggerating. At the beach bar of choice that night, they served a small metal bucket with 2 cans of Coke and a half sized bottle of the nastiest local bourbon. You would then proceed to pour all of them into said bucket, add a bunch of ice and a straw, and goodnight.
The next morning I would have welcomed slipping in the shower and breaking my neck, anything to end what was by far the worst hangover I think a person can endure.
To connect the dots and make sense of this seemingly random story; I looked in the mirror and what was staring back at me was a face portrayed to perfection by Gerard Butler in Den of Thieves.
If he put his body through hell to look that way for this role then he deserves a cookie. It would be much more likely that it was all done through some movie makeup wizardry, and I guess that's cool too, it still struck a cord with me.
What's your favorite Gerard Butler film? Let's chat about it in the comments.