Movie Review: Takers (2010)
“Who’s Taking Who?”
Director: John Luessenhop
Cast: Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon
Synopsis: A tough police detective pursues a slick team of bank robbers.
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Takers is a real bloke’s movie, jam packed with heists, car chases and gunfights. It’s also pretty good on a visceral level, appealing to that part of most men that sometimes just wants to kick back and be entertained without having to engage their brain too much. Having said that, the storyline isn’t always as clear as it could be, so it’s just as well there’s plenty of action to stop us from dwelling on it.
Matt Dillon plays your average grizzled cop, struggling to connect with his young daughter while on the trail of a gang of ultra-cool high-class bank robbers led by Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation, The Jungle Book) and Paul Walker (2 Fast 2 Furious, The Lazarus Project). This gang is so cool that the movie shamelessly invites more impressionable members of the audience to admire them rather than the dogged Mr Dillon and his partner. They’re filmed in slow-motion walking towards the camera, smiling, laughing, back-slapping, all talking at once; they wear expensive designer suits like fashion models on a catwalk and give a portion of their ill-gotten gains to charity. These are bad guys written good, which might disturb some – but the story is so unrealistic that it’s kind of hard to work up the necessary adrenaline to be bothered by them. Anyway, Sinatra and his clan were getting away with it fifty years ago, so it’s not exactly controversial.
Where the film does fall down is in its decision to ask us to identify equally with both the good guys and the bad guys, which means it has to devote roughly equal screen time to both, although more of Dillon’s story is told at the beginning of the film. This means it loses focus, and the plot isn’t quite as tightly-knit as it ought to be. Nevertheless, there’s a terrific extended chase sequence, a great shootout between two gangs of bad guys (naturally, the Russians get involved) and even a Butch and Sundance homage.
It’s not award-winning stuff, but Takers clearly sets out to please a clearly-defined target audience and succeeds in doing just that. Its style, drive and energy means it should also appeal to many who wouldn’t normally watch this kind of flick.
(Reviewed 10th January 2012)