Takers

by | Aug 29th, 2010 | 3:30PM | Filed under: Movies, Theatrical Reviews

A lukewarm version of Heat, Takers gets by just doing its half-slick, half-shaky thing: delivering cliché cops-and-criminals thrills with a mostly likable cast. As for the bits that blow up into overwrought silliness, they—like the rest of the film—are easily forgotten outside the theater.

Takers is somewhat surprising—not in its plot and characters, or its countless scenes where very cool, well-dressed thieves do very cool things in slow motion. It’s surprising that for as thin and shallow as the flick is, it still passably entertains on a “eh, I didn’t have anything better to be doing” level.

Here’s the story: There’s a band of very upscale, highly organized bank thieves (they talk of offshore accounts in the Dutch Antilles, and The Bloomberg Report) who are planning to rob an armored car, and there are a couple of desperate, morally compromised LAPD detectives who are trying to catch them. The end. Oh sure, somewhere in there are also a whole bunch of over-the-top shoot-outs, explosions, and lots of guys yelling at each other as they smash stuff up. And some Russian thugs with really big guns. And there are moral quandaries, and suspicions, and betrayals.

But mostly Takers is very upfront and straightforward about the two things it’s offering: 1) Good-looking folks in sharp suits drinking expensive booze while making intricate (and highly implausible) plans to steal things, all of it shot with the slow, luxurious richness of a liquor commercial. And 2) The actual thefts, which come off with hyperactive, hand-held, slam-edited chaos and boom-boom-pow jerky-cam destruction.

Nice Hat, Hayden

On the thieving side, those good-looking folks include Idris Elba (using his real British accent for a change), who I keep championing as a great actor who needs to move up from playing tough-guy-on-a-job sidekick roles. Musician-actors Chris Brown and the film’s producer Tip ‘T.I’. Harris are also in the crew, both leaving behind real-life legal issues to turn in decent on-screen work. And Michael Ealy grounds the movie with one of its less flashy but stabler performances.

For those of you who ever wondered who would win in a wooden-off between those two blond mannequins Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen, you have your answer: With the much larger role as the co-leader of the gang, Walker continues to prove he could be a better, more charismatic actor than he lets on, if only he’d take on more Flags of our Fathers roles and fewer Fast and Furious (and Takers) parts. Christensen only proves how mouth-breathingly stupid a person can look in a hipster pork-pie hat.

(It Girl Zoe Saldana is in here somewhere, as one of the thieves’ girlfriend, but Takers doesn’t have time to waste on boring relationship stuff—the sultry Star Trek, Avatar, and Losers actress is barely on screen.)

On the cop side are Matt Dillon getting his obsessed, crazy-eyed glare on, and Jay Hernandez just running along, trying to keep up. Takers makes it very clear which side of the law & order struggle we’re supposed to be rooting for. Dillon and Hernandez don’t get any fancy, cool cars or motorcycles, or slick suits, or slow-mo struts.

As directed by John Luessenhop (2000’s Lockdown), Takers has a lot of energy and very little matter. Its action scenes are directed and edited with the usual “WTH is going on?!” visual confusion, and the movie’s big “emotional” scenes rely more on sad violins than character development. (Typical tough-guy dialog: “We’re takers, we take.”) But there’s a reason liquor ads work—that sort of slick, sexy style goes a long way toward selling even the most mediocre product. Somewhere amid all the pointless cool, Takers works well enough as all-surface-no-substance entertainment.


11 Responses to “Takers

  1. Mundane Dolphin
    Posted on August 29, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Tempted to see it, mostly because of my “man-crush” on Idris Elba…

    Locke, as always, highly entertaining, concise review…

    Keep it up…

    • Currently 3/5 Stars
    Rebecca
    Posted on August 31, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    There were 2 reasons why I went to see this movie. One – it was rated PG-13 (not R). I was concerned with excessive cursing and nudity. Secondly – the eye candy is hard to resist. As far as the story line, it was entertaining enough. I hate the scenes where a person does a lot of talking before shooting the bad guy and consequently gets shot by the bad guy. Overall I enjoyed it. BTW, I didn’t know Idris was British. As a matter of fact I thought he had a lousy British accent!:-)!

  2. silvia
    Posted on September 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I’m not interested to see anything that Chris Brown on it ….I don’t think he was really sorry for abusing his then girl friend….and people should not help making him rich.

  3. reka marie
    Posted on September 7, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I loved the movie! And chris brown was good and so was everyone else! Let God be the judge of him and his career! He probably was trying to beat the devil worship out of her!

  4. jimmy
    Posted on September 7, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I saw the movie nd not it was great. Locke peterson u r a negative idiot. U need to go out side nd get some sun. U probly spend ur days couped up in ur house. Ur unfunny “witty” comments can’t hide your battle wit. Reading ur review was depressing. We understand that ur a loser nd got some problems u needa deal nd sum counselors u needa see to deal wit ur sepression, but that’s no excuse to try nd make the people who read these reviews to b as miserable as u are.

  5. Skydzigns
    Posted on September 7, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Silvia…

    You know, u really sound dumb as a bag of rocks with no weight. Although i was against what happened w/CB & Rhianna, we don’t ACTUALLY know what truly happened. Just because he apologized doesn’t make him guilty. U’re probably one of those women who think you can say whatever 2 a man & get away with it & if u don’t it’s because u’re a woman & you’ll ALWAYS have the boys in blue on your side. I’m sure u’ve done SOMETHING wrong in life… having said that, SIN has no degrees.

    I’m sure your (whatever you’d have 2 pay in your respective neck of the woods where u reside) didn’t hurt the pockets of any of the characters in TAKERS…. you seem 2 be bitter… o well… you’ll be okay.

    Side Note: Takers was a good movie for what the plot concerned.

  6. Rashun
    Posted on September 7, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I enjoyed the Takers, I went to see the movie because of the cast. They’re all talented entertainers to me. Would have liked to see a little bit more of Zoe- I enjoy her performances in movies. Chris Brown cracked me up when he was running from the police, you didn’t know what to expect.

  7. postal
    Posted on September 7, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Slyvia — get over it!! everyone deserves a second chance!!! Your day will come too when you will need one.

  8. Mary T
    Posted on September 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Interesting cast, Christ Brown was sensational, I am very happy that he had the opportunity to make another movie. I have two wonderful sons and God have mercy on any deamon possessed woman like the one that caused trouble for Chris.

  9. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on September 7, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    “I saw the movie nd not it was great. Locke peterson u r a negative idiot. U need to go out side nd get some sun. U probly spend ur days couped up in ur house. Ur unfunny “witty” comments can’t hide your battle wit. Reading ur review was depressing. We understand that ur a loser nd got some problems u needa deal nd sum counselors u needa see to deal wit ur sepression, but that’s no excuse to try nd make the people who read these reviews to b as miserable as u are.”

    OMG Jimmy! It’s like ur seeing right into my monkey-fighting, Monday-to-Friday SOUL! You sir have my NUMBER. I’m going to immediately go find sum counselors to deal wit my sepression. (Though the only person I can imagine my review making miserable would be Hayden Christensen and his hat.)

    But hey, “battle wit” sounds pretty dang badass! Do you get that when you level your Pally up over 60?

    And to those (and it deeply disturbs me there are more than one of you) saying Rihanna deserved a beating because she’s demon-possessed and/or a devil worshiper, I’m honestly a bit speechless on that one… sorry, my “battle wit” is failing me.

  10. kerry duncan
    Posted on September 9, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I give 2 thumbs up for the movie Takers. They had 6 of most handsome men together playing in a movie. Please everyone leave Chris Brown alone, everyone makes mistakes only God can judge him. Idris sexy accent was great and the clip when he got bed was wonderful too.;-) Paul, Michael and Hayden, keep up the good work. I have seen the movie 4 times for the cool-well dress eye candy men.