Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: "Takers" Brings Heat

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 8 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Takers (2010)
Running time: 107 minutes (1 hour, 47 minutes)
MPAA – R for intense sequences of violence and action, a sexual situation/partial nudity
DIRECTOR: John Luessenhop
WRITERS: Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus, John Luessenhop, and Avery Duff
PRODUCERS: Jason Geter, William Packer, and Tip “T.I.” Harris
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Barrett (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Armen Minasian


Starring: Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy, T.I., Jay Hernandez, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Zoe Saldana, Steve Harris, Gaius Charles, Johnathan Schaech, and Glynn Turman

Arriving in theatres last August 2010, Takers is an ensemble crime drama that focuses on a seasoned team of professional bank robbers and the hard-nosed detective that is hunting them. Though not great, Takers is nonetheless an exciting little heist movie that manages to walk its own way, while showing its influences.

Gordon Cozier (Idris Elba), John Rahway (Paul Walker), A.J. (Hayden Christensen), and brothers Jake Attica (Michael Ealy) and Jesse Attica (Chris Brown) are a highly-organized team of bank robbers. They describe themselves a “takers,” because they see something they want and they take it. After shocking Los Angeles with their latest heist, they plan to lead a life of luxury for a long time before taking on their next job.

They get a surprise, however, from former team member, Dalonte Rivers A.KA. Ghost (Tip “T.I.” Harris). Caught in a previous robbery five years earlier, Ghost received an early release from prison and is on parole. Claiming he harbors no ill will towards his former teammates, Ghost convinces them that now is the right time to strike an armored car carrying $20 million. The “takers” carefully plot out their strategy and draw nearer to the day of the heist, but their activities have brought a reckless, rule-breaking police officer named Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) closer to learning their identities. As Welles and his partner, Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez), get closer, things get crazy and new players move into the game.

Early on in the film, I recognized Takers as a sort of urban contemporary take on Michael Mann’s influential heist flick, Heat (1995), but Takers isn’t the complex and insightful character study that Mann’s film is. Takers’ characters are either shallow (John, A.J.), potential poorly executed (Ghost), or well-developed, but shorted on time (Jack Welles, Gordon Cozier).

Takers moves quickly and has a cool, slick visual manner befitting an L.A. crime film. Gripping set pieces open the film, straddle the film’s middle, and close the film, all of which make this work very well as an action movie. Takers is a thrill to watch. It’s a shame that the writing on the character side isn’t stronger, because that is pretty much what keeps Takers from being an exceptional action and crime film. Still, Takers is better than most recent crime films, and I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel or even a prequel.

7 of 10

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


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