Weekend Movie Review: Takers

Gordon Jennings (Elba) is the mastermind of a group of bank robbers that includes brothers Jesse (Brown) and Jake Attica (Ealy), John Rahway (Walker), and A.J. (Christensen). When they put their heads together and have enough time to plan out the perfect heist, these takers are practically untouchable. If they see something they want, they reach out and take it. It’s as simple as that.

Everything seems to be going smoothly until Ghost (T.I.), a former member of the group, is released early while serving a five year sentence. Ghost has a job lined up that could see a payoff of $25-$30 million, but they only have five days to act on it. While they all expect Ghost has ulterior motives, they agree to the job. As the job sees more than a few hiccups along the way and the Russians make their presence known, these takers come to the realization that they should have taken Ghost out while they had the chance.

Takers looked like a pretty cliche thriller just from its movie posters and trailers. Hip hop artists T.I. and Chris Brown have supporting roles in the film while African American actors Idris Elba (The Losers, RocknRolla) and Michael Ealy (Seven Pounds, 2 Fast 2 Furious) are featured, as well. These four actors are the ones you see the most of in the film and if you haven’t really followed their acting career or listen to hip hop at all, then you probably won’t have much interest.

Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, and Jay Hernandez round out the rest of the main cast. There was a rather large clamoring amongst fans and moviegoers of the horrid acting of Hayden Christensen while the Star Wars prequels were in theaters. If you haven’t seen him in anything since then, then just know he hasn’t gotten much better. While Paul Walker has certainly had his moments (mainly Pleasantville and Joy Ride), he doesn’t really have much room to talk either.

The biggest struggle Takers faces is that it feels like a movie you’ve already seen. Remember all those films revolving around bank heists? Dog Day Afternoon, Heat, Point Break, The Dark Knight, The Italian Job, the list goes on and on. Every one of those films managed to bring something different to the table or at least featured something somewhat different or appealing to make it identifiable when presented in a line up of bank heist films.

Takers is so similar to last year’s Armored that it feels almost pointless to have taken place in the first place. Both films contain a heist involving armored cars, a mostly African-American cast, and even though Matt Dillon seems to have switched roles in comparison to the two films, it doesn’t help that he’s featured in both.

That along with Idris Elba and Zoe Saldana being in the film almost seemed like Takers was actually a cheap combination of The Losers and Armored, which is probably a pretty decent way to describe the film. Do moviegoers like seeing the same movie over and over again because it sure seems that way.

The camera work felt incredibly sloppy, as well. In the first 20 or so minutes of the film, I felt more nauseous than I did at any point of Cloverfield. The way the camera spun around so quickly and so often combined with the way shots kept zooming in and out just didn’t make the film feel like it was professionally shot. Certain scenes in the film seemed like they were too close while at other times the camera would zoom out slightly that came off like an error of judgement while the cameras just continued to roll. All in all, the camera work just felt very erratic and unfocused.

This is usually the part in my review where I try to say something positive or make a compliment sandwich kind of deal, but there really isn’t much to work with. Hayden Christensen’s fight scene, the chase involving Chris Brown, and the gun fight with the Russians are probably the highlights. The writing wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been either although it probably helps that there were four different writers credited on the film.

Takers is a stale crime thriller that consists of both an A.D.D. style of film choreography and a cast aimed at a specific demographic that will likely hurt the film more than benefit it. The obvious little twist the film throws at you sticks out like a sore thumb and the way the film ends will probably leave a lot to be desired. Whether you look at Takers as an action packed crime thriller or an entertaining experience, Takers comes up short and takes last place.

GRADE: C

Movie review sourced from www.examiner.com