When you turn on the news and see that a bank has been robbed, or that something has been stolen, your first instinct likely isn’t to think, Boy, I hope they get away with it. Why is it then, that in heist films the viewer instinctively roots for the group of criminals, and hopes that their eventual plan results in an elaborate theft that leads to a daring escape right under the nose of their pursuers. Those in pursuit are usually hard-nosed detectives or police officers who somehow turn into, what can only be described as the villains in these films. It’s funny when you actually stop to think about it, but for the most part, that’s how it is in the genre, and Takers is really no exception to the rule.
The film stars Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Michael Ealy, Chris Brown and Hayden Christensen as a group of incredibly talented, smart, and cautious bank robbers who know how to space out their jobs, invest their money and keep a low profile in order to keep off the radar of the police. They all live a comfortable life, with no real worries, and seem to have everything going their way, that is, until they see a Ghost (Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris). Ghost, a former member of their posse who got caught during a robbery four years prior, shows up at their doorstep, fresh out of jail, with a job in mind that will bring the group their biggest haul yet.
Meanwhile, Officer Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) is watching his life fall apart around him, and begins obsessing over finding this band of criminal brothers in an attempt to both clear his mind, and prove something to himself. While his fixation on finding out who these men are, and how to take them down, brings him closer to a once untouchable crew, it also pushes him farther away from the things that are most important to him in life. With things on both sides of the law spinning out of control, it’s only a matter of time before it all hits a boiling point, and when it does, you don’t want to miss it.
Takers is packed with a talented cast that suits this style of film perfectly. It’s not incredibly deep, yet it’s got enough story to chew on that you feel satisfied with everything that’s coming at you throughout. Nearing the end of the first act, I realized that the film can perfectly be described as The Expendables of heist films, just without the assembly of all the greatest heist film actors coming together in on movie. The reason I came to this conclusion is that just like The Expendables, each member of the group has at least one scene dedicated to the spotlight being directly on them, and each one of these moments are incredibly satisfying.
The film is also not trying to be something it isn’t. It’s smart, yet it doesn’t focus on the planning of the heist as much as most in the genre do, and instead chooses to rely on action sequences, with a few dramatic scenes in-between to help push the story forward. This actually works to its advantage though, as this isn’t a group of guys you want to see throwing witty banter back and forth, it’s a group of guys you want to see beat the hell out of those who do them wrong in their quest for the almighty dollar. The action sequences are well done, with some that will make you stand up and take notice (I’m talking to you Christensen, who does his best impression of Jason Statham at one point in the film) with the rest no doubt filling the need of most action junkies out there, which is really all you can ask for.
Now, just as was the case with The Expendables, a problem with Takers is that it has to develop so many characters in such a short amount of time, that they all kind of suffer because of it. While you get enough of an idea about who each of them are on a very basic level, the lack of defining characteristics make the emotional connection to anyone in the film almost non-existent.
If you’re looking for a fun, action-packed, entertaining film, with a decent story, and solid acting all around, you need look no further than Takers, just don’t expect it to take up an excess amount of space in your memory once it’s over.
The video in the film looks great and is presented in 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. The colours are sharp, and the shades blend well, leaving nothing to ask for in this department. On the audio side of things, I found it hard to hear the dialogue at times, and had to crank my volume quite high in order to get everything to come through clearly. Coming to us in the usual 5.1 Dolby Digital, this may not be an issue in all cases, and if it is, cranking the volume until it’s at an acceptable level works just as well, as the music, dialogue and action sequences are all on the same frequency, so there’s no shocking extremely loud explosions due to the high volume that will send you diving for the remote to constantly turn it down and up throughout.
The extras are disappointingly slim, as there’s only a music video, “Yeah Ya Know (Takers)” by T.I, and a commentary to be found. The commentary has Director John Luessenhop, as well as the three producers on the film, one of which is ‘T.I’ himself. With nothing else to go off of, this is all that fans get if they want a deeper look into the making of the film, and it’s a decent listen to if you’re interested.
Of course, this is the perfect type of movie where you want to see some making of features, focusing on things like the armoured car robbery, or the hotel room shootout, and things of that nature, with comments from the rest of the giant cast. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, so most will likely just stick with the movie.
Takers is an enjoyable heist movie, that focuses more on the action than the actual planning of the heist itself, which is exactly what you want from this group of actors. Certain parts of the film were surprising, especially that of Christensen taking on a group of thugs all by himself. Let’s just say that if he brought that attitude into battle with Obi-Wan, then things may have turned out a bit different in a galaxy far, far away.
Sony Pictures and Screen Gems present Takers. Directed by: John Luessenhop. Starring: Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Jay Hernandez, Michael Ealy, Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris, Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen. Running time: 107 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: Jan. 18, 2011.