23 December 2005 | sol-kay
You have blood on your face
***SPOILERS*** Sending a group of FBI agents to Budapest in order to crack the dreaded Solntsevskaya, Russian Mafia, grip on that city leads to the discovery that the Russian mobsters were into a lot more then just trafficking in drugs and white slavery, they were into illegal arms smuggling that included nuclear weapons. Going undercover in the Budapest Solntsevskaya is FBI agent Mike Varga, Stephen Dorff, a Hungarian/American with family members living in the city.
Getting close to the head of the Russian hoods Darius Paskevk, Bob Hoskins, as a leading drug pusher in his organization puts Mike in the perfect position to get the goods on him and his connections in the Budapest police department. Falling in love with Darius' daughter Katya, Laura Fraser, who's her father financial adviser in his criminal activities has Mike in an awkward position since he's in fact working to put her father as well as Katya behind bars.
Finding out that one of Darius' mobsters back in Russia Yakov,Robert Willox, and a gang of renegade soldiers had obtained a nuclear detonator from the Russian Army and are about to sell it to arms dealer Hazni Hussein, Nabil Massad. Hussein is going to give it, for a nice hunk of change, to a notorious Middle-Eastern terrorist group. With now the lives of millions at stake the local Hungarian police and the FBI are working around the clock to keep the detonator from getting into terrorist hands and prevent another, but far worse, 9/11.
A bit slow at times "Den of Lions" lacks the edge of your seat tension and excitement that would keep you glued to the screen taking in every second of the movie. We also have a confusing sub-plot involving Rita, Tania Emery, who was kidnapped early in the movie by Darius' thugs and thrown into a life of prostitution. Not to make light of Rita's terrible situation it, the story focusing on Rita, made the danger of a possible nuclear holocaust almost second fiddle in comparison with Mike and his boss FBI man Rob Shepard, Ian Hart, as well as Katya risking their lives to save Rita and almost forgetting the real reason for their concern: a nuclear armed Al-Qeada-type terrorist group.
Mike playing it close to the vest knows that it's only a matter of time before he's found out by Darius and his right head man Freko, David O'Hara, and sets up a fake assassination of Rob to throw the mobsters off his tail. Rob is later found to be alive by Budapest police informer Laszlo (Lozsef Gyaronka), who was working for Darius,and that leads to Ferko trying to kill Mike and then, at the conclusion of the movie, the shootout between Darius's gangsters with the Budapest police.
Despite it's flaws "Den of Lions" does have it's moments. The relationship between both Mike and Darious with the independent minded Katya provides an interesting psychological insight between the three. The acting of Bob Hoskins was a lot like that of an American Mafia chieftain then that of a Russian one with him looking like an overweight version of the first Communist Russian leader Vladimir Lenin.