Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Takers" (2010)

Starring Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, and Chris Brown
Written by Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus, John Luessenhop, and Avery Duff
Directed by John Luessenhop
Rated R - Language, violence
Running Time: 107 Minutes

Takers [Blu-ray]Everyone likes a good heist film, right?  What about a thoroughly mediocre one?  "Takers" falls squarely into the latter case.

"Takers" follows a group of bank robbers led by Gordon Cozier (Idris Elba) who are highly-organized and extremely talented.  After a brazen day-time bank robber, the group, including John (Paul Walker), A.J. (Hayden Christensen), and brothers Jake (Michael Ealy) and Jesse (Chris Brown), vow to go their separate ways until the next job.  An old associate of theirs, Ghost (T.I.) has just been released from prison.  He approaches the group and manages to convince them to pull another job closely after the first.  The guys are understandably apprehensive about this, since their policy is to wait a year between jobs.

Meanwhile, detectives Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) and Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez) are on the case.  As Jack gets more involved in cracking this case, it begins to affect his personal life.  He soon begins to suspect that the same guys behind the bank robbery are planning something new.  But what is the job?  And what does it have to do with a group of Russian gangsters?

"Takers" is a pretty mediocre heist film.  It doesn't seem to know what it wants to follow, so what seems like it wants to be a sprawling crime epic is actually just kind of a messy, low-budget action flick.  The storyline has a lot of little subplots for each character, but none of them are really developed at all since "Takers" clocks in at under two hours.  The characters, then, are all pretty superficial.  There's some effort to humanize them by giving them each some semblance of a personal life - Gordon has a sister who is in and out of rehab, Jake is proposing to his girlfriend (Zoe Saldana), Jake has a daughter that thinks he's ignoring her, etc.  But these ideas are all introduced and then essentially abandoned in order to continue the plot moving along.

The film does have a bright point - the action sequences are competently made.  The bank heist, the armored car heist and the subsequent shootouts and chases are all pretty cool, if not particularly memorable.  "Takers" probably won't wow anyone, but there are a few "oh cool" moments.  Hayden Christensen's fight with some gangsters he's trying to buy explosives from is pretty good, as is a sequence with Dillon and Hernandez chasing Chris Brown's character through a subway and then a hotel.

Bogged down by simplistic, uninteresting characters, "Takers" is nothing special save for its competent action sequences.  There are worse ways to spend a couple hours, but this one's definitely a "there's nothing else on" kind of movie.