Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Takers



Directed by John Luessenhop.
2010. Rated PG-13, 107 minutes.
Cast:
Matt Dillon
Idris Elba
Michael Ealy
Tip “T. I.” Harris
Paul Walker
Jay Hernandez
Chris Brown
Hayden Christensen
Zoe Saldana
Marianne Jean-Baptiste
Steve Harris


A group of highly successful, risk-conscious bank robbers are lured into trying a daring, but once-in-a-lifetime heist of an armored car. The person that does the luring is known as Ghost (rapper T. I.). Ghost was busted during a job with the crew back in “oh-four” as they tell us about a thousand times. Since oh-four, the boys hadn’t had any contact with him and his girlfriend Lilly (Saldana) is now engaged to one of the other guys. That’s about all you’re getting out of me, but you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of how the rest of this plays out.

On the plus side, it gets the exciting parts right. Our opening heist is a beauty, just enough over the top to enjoy. The chase scene involving Chris Brown’s character is masterful and the fight scene featuring Hayden Christensen’s character is well-done. Our second heist is fun, even if it is dumb. These scenes carry the movie. They have to. What happens between them ranges from predictable and/or rehashed to mind-numbing. Our bank robbers consistently do things that make little or no sense even though the movie desperately needs us to believe they’re much smarter than they’ve shown. The line of logic we see just doesn’t jive with their stealthy image. Time and again, we’re told how cautious they are, yet nothing they do qualifies as such. Many of them are downright stupid, but since they often lead directly to an action sequence it’s supposed to be okay.

The writing, as it relates to non-heist matters isn’t any better. It wisely interjects a number of peripheral issues and circumstances to try and build some empathy for characters on all sides of the law. However, it fails to explore any of them. Many are dropped as soon as whatever scene they come up in is over. Because of this, there is no connection to be had. Even people who enjoy the movie will likely forget it before the DVD player cools down.

Takers can be fun if you just let the action wash over you. Sadly, it crumples pitifully under the slightest bit of scrutiny. Under our mental interrogation, it meekly reveals that it is really made up of scenes from other, better movies. Heat is the most easily recognizable victim. If you don’t have those movies as a reference point, your spider-sense may not tingle. Yet, you’ll still know what’s coming next. Then again, without those other movies, this one would not exist. It isn’t merely influenced by them, but birthed from their collective loins. Typical of inbred children, it was born with major defects.

MY SCORE: 5/10

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