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Highly flawed, but ultimately successful
6/10 The plot for this film does not need to be explained. It's basically a pastiche of The Italian Job, True Romance and melodramatic cliches.5 years ago
The third element in the blender, mentioned above, along with a script short on genuine character development (You'll sometimes forget that Hayden Christensen and Zoe Saldana are in it) are distracting for a film which develops a serious tone, but there are positives, depending on your genre preferences.
The film moves along briskly, even as we deal with a cringe-worthy first half, and when the actual robbery gets going, the fun starts. Though the cinematography is modeled too much off of the Bourne-style shaky cam, the set pieces are still very well pulled off.
The extended car chases and shootouts contain a level of energy and suspense that really makes them standout, comparable to similar scenes in the above mentioned films, along with an on-foot chase clearly modeling itself off of the Madagascar chase in Casino Royale. Every car whizzing by, bone crunch or gunshot affects the audience due to mostly- proper use of slow motion, and great editing, both sound and film wise.
The melodrama may make some engaged viewers start laughing due to how it's put on screen, but as the stakes get higher, gels with the storyline.
The main cast, considering the material they are given, do the best they can, and their charisma is enough for us to care about them when the stakes get REALLY high, particularly in the case of Matt Dillon and Idris Elba.
It's highly unoriginal and contains several other elements worthy of nitpicking, but after evaluating how I had spent the past 107 minutes of my life, I think it got the job done.
"Takers" Gives You a Solid Movie
7/10 "I need a new suit." That's what I kept thinking during the movie "Inception" and again during "Takers." I like that Hollywood is dressing up their leading actors more often these days.5 years ago
"Takers" is a story about a group of efficient, professional thieves who meticulously plan their robberies a year in an advance. They take their jobs seriously and leave little room for error. There is no one shining star in this crew. The team has great balance between the members played by younger Hollywood such as Hayden Christensen, Paul Walker and Michael Ealy.
The audience is tossed into two different action sequences from the start with no explanation of why we are watching these scenes. It's like waking up in the middle of cage fight then getting punched in the back of the head and the face simultaneously. After the disorientation, your head starts to clear up and things start coming into focus. The moment of clarity arrives and you are in the movie.
After the opening bank robbery we are introduced to the team of Takers. These guys are suave and know how to present themselves. It was like watching a group of "Esquire" magazine models relax after a hard day at the office (if that office specialized in bank robberies). They all wear expensive suits, drink high-end scotch and smoke fine cigars. They each retreat to their own slice of heaven to relax. The director (John Luessenhop, I don't know who he is either) spends a lot of time building their image through a slow motion reunion before they go into their own private club. For having only recently done a bank job together they seem to revel in their male bonding and handshaking quite extensively.
This life of the Takers seems too good to be true with very little conflict. That is why we are introduced to Ghost (played by Tip T.I. Harris) an ex-member of the Takers crew who is being released from prison. Seems that back in 2004 these guys did a job where Ghost was shot and sent to prison. He's not mad about it though, in fact he has one last big score for his old crew.
Meanwhile, the two detectives (Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez) assigned to the Takers' bank robbery start gathering the information they need to track this crew down. We turn to the classic "cops and robbers" formula and we have seen it before.
The Takers start getting ready for the heist while more is being revealed about their personal lives. These side stories set the movie apart from the rest of the movies in the genre. In this case it is a close family member that gives Gordon (played by Idris Elba) a reason to accept this heist but it also gives him a lot of problems.
Family is also giving the detectives problems. Jack Welles (Dillon), the detective, is a single dad who is having problems going through his separation. This immediately brings us back into the typical cop drama. Why is it that almost every movie cop in LA is divorced? Seriously, I think Danny Glover's character in "Lethal Weapon" was the last detective who as able to bust bad guys, take hundreds of bullets to the chest and still keep his marriage together.
The story progresses at a good pace until the big action fueled bank heist. There was a little too much of the shaky camera syndrome. Note to Hollywood - we know what you are doing, stop it. The shaky camera action sequences don't work every time. Slow it down and try something else; it's giving us a headache.
Warning, you have seen the heist scene before in a previous film, I won't say which one but this time they didn't use Mini Coopers for the action sequence. Instead there was an elongated foot chase that seemed to last for hours. Another note to Hollywood - most Olympic athletes can't fall from a tall building, be hit by a bus and then sprint for a 1/4 mile while dodging bullets so don't try making us believe that Chris Brown can pull it off and still look good doing it.
Should you see this movie? Yes, it will keep your attention and most of the action is believable. There is genuine balance and chemistry amongst the characters. The director did try something different by putting a twist in the middle of the movie instead of at the end. He gets points for that. He also gets points for the elaborate shoot out scene; I applaud his choice of string instrument background music and lack of loud gun noises to give it a huge impact. Now if you will excuse me, I am off to shop for a new suit.
What did You Expect?
7/10 You don't go into a movie like this expecting it to be "Apocalypse Now". You walk in expecting to sit back and be entertained. Now I did the latter of the two and honestly I wasn't disappointed, it was far fetched, it had a good amount of dumb action, and mediocre acting. Now this all might sound bad but really it's not I enjoyed this movie for all it's faults.5 years ago
Any description of the plot would be meaningless since it's pretty much given away in the preview, which happens a lot nowadays, but despite the formula plot line there was actually some descent characters to watch and almost care about.
I'm really happy I took a chance on this movie, I love great movies and even though this is definitely not one of them it entertained me and for a while I was just enjoying the movie. Which isn't really why we go to the movies anyway?
My Head is Spinning
5/10 This movie is fast-paced and the cinematography (specifically the shaky camera thing) is clever and interesting when it's not irritating. Also, there is some eye candy for the ladies and some of the cast is full of interesting and appealing characters, some who actually do decent acting jobs ("some" is the operative word.) Those are the good points.5 years ago
Now the other side. I like T.I. as a rapper and even thought he did an okay acting job in ATL a few years ago, but his acting here was just downright criminal. There was one scene in which he dominated the dialog that I actually said out loud, "his acting is so bad, it's offensive." You're actually offended that that is being pushed off as something you should buy as a viewer. You're wondering how no one in the director's booth was offended by it. In fairness, the fast action of the bulk of the movie shields the poor acting a bit, so the blow is blunted a bit. But between his poor acting and Chris Brown's sometimey acting, it was just a lot being asked of the viewer. Speaking of characters, the lack of character development is also a low point of the film. I agree with another commenter that you're asked to feel something for a character who dies, but you feel nothing because you really haven't been given anything to know or care about. And finally as others have stated, the plot is cliched to the point that you're wondering if it's supposed to be a satire of some sort. But no, no satire. They're seriously trying to wrap Heat and Set it Off and Dead Presidents up in a big bow and pass it off as a new present. Just not a good thing to do.
I rate it a 5 on a 10-point scale because while it's not a great movie, it does hold your attention and as bad as some parts are, it's not the worst movie I've ever seen. So I say giving it about half credit is pretty accurate. In that vain, I won't say you should pay to see this or you shouldn't pay to see it. I say do the 50/50 thing--flip a coin. Either way, the earth won't shatter. This movie is just not that significant either way. It will probably be forgotten pretty soon.
Better than Expected
7/10 After reading the reviews posted here, I had little hope of seeing a good movie, although the fact that the movie was playing at a "budget" theater was incentive enough for me to see it. I'm glad I went. Over the last couple of years, I've found that reviews on movies have become extremely undependable. It seems as though a lot of folks, who fancy themselves as reliable movie critics, have become quite snobbish in their reviews. It's so easy to be critical. Some critics like to feel that they are a step above the rest of us, and therefore more likely to understand how the movie should have been written, versus the flawed production that was actually released upon the public. I'd have missed many a good movie had I listened to the "professionals". This is an entertaining movie. It's not "The Godfather" or "Shawshank Redemption", but it's a good old fashioned action movie that keeps your attention. Get some popcorn and soda, sit back, and enjoy the show.5 years ago