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Simon’s Rating: 5/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 4.0/10
(3 reviews total)
Envision a GQ ad on speed with a dash of The Italian Job and you will have a good idea of what Takers has to offer. Though a slick and mostly kinetic heist flick, there is not a single frame of the entire running length that has not been borrowed from another, usually better, film. I don’t consider it a spoiler to reveal that the structure of the central robbery is identical to that of The Italian Job, down to the street-erupting armoured car interception and traffic light tampering. You would think that with all the talent drifting through Hollywood that they could come up with an original caper at least. Actually, never mind.
Stealing eye-rolls along with cash, Takers also piles on a heap of clichés: the obsessive detective, the agile parkour thief, the robber who “is never going back to prison” and of course for good measure the “takers” walk away from an explosion in slow motion, Armani ties flapping in the breeze. Despite an utterly unoriginal premise, Takers remains quite entertaining for the first three quarters, running at a breezy pace with some flashy scuffles and gunfights. It is in the final act things not only turn dumb but oddly depressing for what preceded it was essentially escapist fun.
The cast is a slap-dash of rappers and actors, the most notable of the former is obviously Chris Brown who got some bad press around the film’s original release date when he got into a, cough, “argument” with singer Rihanna. The standout by far is Idris Elba employing his natural British accent to smooth effect. Takers makes the second film released this weekend to star a cast member from HBO’s The Wire, the other being Dominic West who you can find in Neil Marshall’s Centurion. Zoe Zaldana also pops up but has the definition of a nothing role. She has all of two minutes screen time and a maximum of five lines, but hey, every movie needs a little eye-candy.
Takers ramps into a robbery right off the start, finding a gang of savvy thieves including Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Chris Brown, Michael Ealy and Idris Elba laying siege to a bank with a nifty escape plan. They plan all of their heists thoroughly, always have an out and never pull off two jobs within the same year. The day of, a former partner of those known as Ghost (another rapper, this time T.I.) is released from prison and contacts his old gang. He lets them into the loop on a “one time job” involving a rather large withdrawal from an armored truck. But with Det. Jack Wells (Matt Dillon) and his partner Lt. Carver (ironically the name of a character from The Wire) still hot on their trail from the last robbery, they break their rules and things begin to go wrong.
This is only T.I.’s second acting job following a small role in American Gangster and he is not bad in the role. Unfortunately, his accented “gangsta” speak begins to wear towards the finale which when compounded with the endings other issues make for a forgettable prominent debut. It is almost as if director John Lussenhop was trying to create a more sophisticated film than the material allowed. Featuring plenty of gloss but little spark, Takers feels right at home in the dog days of summer. In hindsight this gang of bandits should have stolen themselves a better script instead of other films’ ideas.
Directed by: John Luessenhop
Written by: Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus, John Luessenhop
Starring: Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Chris Brown
Other Player Affinity Reviews:
Joseph thought: “My roommate begged me for days on end to go see Takers. ‘It’s this generation’s Heat,’ he said, repeating some quote-whore critic off the trailer regarding Michael Mann’s 1995 heist masterpiece. Finally, after offering to throw in three dollars toward my ticket, I agreed to go: worst movie-going decision of this year. This film is a collage of every cliché known to the genre combined with various rip-offs of its betters. In the first five minutes you’ve got the whole crew walking away from an explosion in slow motion. The directing and writing are among the laziest efforts made in 2010, with its action predictable, by the numbers and shot so close up that you can’t tell what’s going on. Add in a cast full of second rate actors and you’ve got one bored, miserable audience. The only reason it merits a 1 instead of a 0 is because some of T.I.’s dialogue creates unintentional laughs given his recent bust for meth possession (“I’m never going back to jail!”) and one of its action set pieces generates enough tension to overlook the massive plot holes for a minute or two. But in the end it bothers me that millions of dollars were spent on the making of this picture that could’ve been spent on more productive things, like fueling a bonfire.” Rating: 1/10
Dinah thought: “I admit I went into Takers believing it was a generic movie that merely ripped off better heist films. What I did not anticipate was that stealing scenes from classics and well-known pictures and mashing them together could actually manifest itself in an entertaining movie. The acting is terrible and dialogue forced and stilted. Still, when these B-list actors stop talking and start knocking people out, going on chases, and fighting each other the story becomes fun. Takers had excellent action and one of the best chase scenes in movies recently. Unfortunately, it failed at developing a connection between the characters and audience, something predecessors certainly accomplished.” Rating: 6/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 4.0/10