Reel Shorts | Takers

27 08 2010

This feature first appeared in Jet Magazine.com. To read this review at its original source, click here.

Style and substance violently collide in the heist drama, “Takers.” Despite boasting one of the year’s sexiest casts, pulse-pounding action and impressive stunts, the filmmaker’s inability to rein in the story’s ridiculous plot ultimately “take” it down.

The tale of deception, betrayal and loyalty opens with an elaborate bank robbery and escape that quickly establishes the skill and efficiency of this formidable crew. Led by Gordon (Elba), they secure their largest score, $2 million, and escape to safety by jacking a news helicopter that transports them to safety. These “new” New Jack criminals are highly organized, featuring a builder, A.J. (Christensen), bagman, John (Walker), gunman, Jake (Michel Ealy) and his brother, the crew’s runner, Jesse (Chris Brown). As this group of “takers” is preparing to divide their ends and fall back until the heat subsides, a former member of their crew resurfaces with an offer they can’t refuse.

They are literally visited by a “spirit” from their past — the recently paroled former crew leader, Ghost (T.I.) who, has not only lost several years of his life behind bars, but he’s also lost his his girl (Zoe Saldana) to former crew mate, Jake (Michael Ealy). He has a proposition for his old crew, a $30 million score — but they only have FIVE days to prepare and execute the takedown!

While they prepare for the big payday, they are pursued by Detective Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) who stumbles upon their plan and is constantly trying to convince his superiors and even his troubled partner, Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez) that he can piece a case together against these skilled thieves. Under investigation by his department for excessive force, Welles magically finds bread crumbs left behind by the crew.

As the crew works around the clock preparing for the big score, Welles stays one step behind them. Despite major trust issues and heightening tensions between Ghost and the crew, they all need to work together to pull off the super-heist.

The cliched story — written by director John Luessenhop (“Lockdown”) along with co-screenwriters Peter Allen, Avery Duff and Gabriel Casseus’ (“New Jersey Drive”) — borrows heavily from several heist films, most notably “Heat.” This stylish tale has the look, and is filled with an attractive cast but audiences will struggle with several scenes that logically make no sense. Dillon’s character is either the luckiest detective in film history or the smartest as he always manages to find the just the right clue that leads him closer to the crew. The filmmakers also couldn’t decide why there were scenes filled with too many officers in pursuit and other obvious scenes of mayhem where there were none to be found.

The film also suffers by association: the Elba and Dillon characters slightly reprise personas from other works (Stringer Bell from The Wire and the racist cop from “Crash,” respectively). But instead of their participation raising the film’s level, their presence remind audiences of better performances in these much better projects. The film also wastes the talents of its female leads — the sexy Saldana and British actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste, who get little opportunity to shine in this all-boys affair.

If movies were graded solely on style, this multi-cultural who’s who of young upcoming actors — including Elba, Ealy, Walker, Hernandez, Brown and Christensen — would have most awards on lockdown. From their fashion swag, sporty whips and eclectic homes, these “Takers” are large and in charge. Unfortunately, much of the movie is too unbelievable for audiences to take.

Grade: C-

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7 responses

27 08 2010
Movieaholic

I’m still going to see it even if the critics dont like it. Let me judge for myself. Heck I’m going just to see the Ghost of T.I cannot miss out on seeing all those nice looking men all at the same time! NO WAY. I have not seen it as of yet and will not allow someone else perception spoil my fun.

27 08 2010
filmgordon

Movieaholic,

You are entitled to your opinion; let us know when you check it out what you think.

28 08 2010
MsOfficer
28 08 2010
filmgordon

Ms. Officer,

I checked out your site and I understand!

Very well done!

LMAO

29 08 2010
al southern

good film. thought ending should have went in another direction would have made for better theater.

3 stars out of five.

28 11 2010
hahy

i liked this movie, i downloaded from moviesdl.tk

20 02 2011
CMrok93

There’s nothing particularly wrong with Takers, but very little that’s right. It may not be the best film I have ever seen, but the thrills are good, and the film was very fun at points. Good review, check out mine when you can!

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