Film Review: Takers

Takers
Starring: Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Michael Ealy, Jay Hernandez
Director: John Luessenhop
Sony Pictures
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, a sexual situation/partial nudity and some language

They’re suave, they’re sophisticated, they are the Takers. Another entry in the slick heist genre, Takers is a welcome addition showcasing a group of bank robbers who are efficient and precise when pulling off a job. The movie brings coolness and a sense of finesse amidst a constant barrage of action, explosions, and gunplay. Takers is pure escapist entertainment at its finest. It asks nothing more of you than to sit back, grab the popcorn, and enjoy the ride. Takers is now available on VUDU to own or rent it in SD, HD, and HDX!

Takers centers on a crew of five bank robbers who know exactly what they’re doing. Led by Gordon Cozier (Idris Elba), the crew also consists of John Rahway (Paul Walker), Jake (Michael Ealy) and Jesse (Chris Brown) Attica, and A.J. (Hayden Christensen). They are meticulous in their details, studying their targets to make sure everything goes flawlessly. When they strike, they strike big, and then they go silent, always allowing at least a year to lapse between jobs. When Ghost (T.I.), a former member of the squad, gets released from prison early, they worry he might hold a grudge seeing he was the only one who was caught in a heist five years ago. Ghost, however, brings them a fail-proof job to make them all rich and settle the past. Going against their M.O., the group doesn’t want to pull a job having just done one. Rather than risk Ghost exposing them, they go along with the plan, but always keep an eye on him. To complicate matters, two Los Angeles detectives, Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) and Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez) are hot on their trail, getting closer and closer to nabbing the thieves.

Takers showcases some of the most impressive stunt and chase sequences amongst all recent action films. The film goes to great lengths to avoid the use of CGI, instead opting for good, old fashioned techniques. The stunt team is really the star here, especially during a memorable chase scene near the end featuring Chris Brown’s character, Jesse. There’s a heavy use of parkour in this sequence that heightens the tension and action. Jesse’s ability to bounce off walls, slip through small openings, and take giant leaps fuels the adrenaline-filled action. The heist sequence prior to this chase is also to be commended. The use of pyrotechnics and explosions gives the added realism that is usually unattainable by CGI.

Takers isn’t just all guns and explosions. Takers separates itself from becoming just another cliché action-crime film by taking time to develop characters and create subplots. It greatly adds to the depth of these characters rather than making them one-dimensional archetypes. The subplot concerning Gordon and his drug-addict sister Naomi (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) is particularly poignant, creating a contrasting juxtaposition and even hypocrisy between them. Gordon, the lifetime thief, is pressuring his sister, the lifetime addict, to clean herself up and lead a straight life. The idea of a criminal trying to reform another criminal creates a complicated relationship between the two. Another subplot concerns Jack as a renegade cop, always toeing and occasionally crossing the line by often exhibiting excessive force with criminals. His personal life is also explored, as is his relationship with his partner Eddie. A clichéd action flick wouldn’t even bother with these stories.

Takers is a great way to just sit back and enjoy a movie. There’s solid story and character development that doesn’t require a deep analysis. Everything’s there for you, and sometimes, that’s what a movie should be. Yes, movies can be deep and insightful and offer social commentary, but not every movie needs to be like that. Movies are meant to be form of escapist entertainment. The audience should be drawn into the world of the movie. Takers does this, and does it well. It never aspires to be more than what it is, and that’s just fine.

DID YOU KNOW?

Co-stars Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen may have never appeared in a movie together prior to Takers, but they certainly have a history. Paul Walker had auditioned in the early 2000s for the role of Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones”, a role that ultimately went to Hayden Christensen.