Saturday, October 16, 2010



Takers is a heist film that's pretty much the same as other heist films, where there's plenty of room for loud action, camaraderie, the elaborate planning stage, and how Murphy's Law enters to screw everything up. This film has it all which makes it pretty average. but there were moments which stood out and made it noteworthy, and hey, an ensemble cast (even if for a few scenes only) with the likes of Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Jay Hernandez, Idirs Elba, Zoe Saldana and the notorious Chris Brown doesn't hurt either.

The thieving bunch here comprises of a close knit group of brothers real and sworn who take a year to plan their large heists, in part to have some time off to allow for their latest escapade to cool off and fade off from the police's radar, to spend their ill gotten dough and of course, to allow for the meticulous planning of their next hit. They follow a strict regime of communication and the reliance of unique skills they bring to the table, and we see how that all come together in concert with their money making objectives. They don't kill unless necessary, and they don't see themselves as desperate robbers. They're above that - they take.

Director John Luessenhop slaps together scenes that tried to go beyond just a simple heist film, and dwells at length to the background of these characters, where we have one who's about to get married, and another grappling with his sister's drug rehabilitation. Even the token cops in the film doesn't get spared, with the story squeezing some time out to showcase how dogged Matt Dillon's Jack Welles is to his job at the expense of previous quality time with his daughter. In fact I don't see how the cops' stories are that compelling to be included in Takers other than to highlight that the world isn't made out to be black and white, but always with that constant opportunity for grey. Given the way the cops' story and subplot got resolved, it could have been totally eliminated and yet there'll still be plenty left in the tank for the film to entertain, since they don't add much to the plot.

The film really picked up past the halfway mark where their new heist proper gets put into action, courtesy of a plan from one of the team's past buddies Ghost (T.I.) whose multi-million dollar proposition involving an armoured truck and pulling off the equivalent of The Italian Job in the tunnels of Los Angeles is too much to handle, that the team chucks their one year per job mantra out the window for that once in a lifetime opportunity. Which spells trouble of course, beginning with a nail-biting build up right down to the ending. Despite being riddled with cliches and plot conveniences at times, or even gaping loopholes that stick out like a sore thumb, such as creating such a prolonged ruckus in a hotel room/floor that the police couldn't arrive on time until the action was over.

Don't get me wrong, the extended shootout was one of my favourite scenes in the film given director Luessenhop's flair in crafting it out and injecting something fresh in the presentation. For the most parts the story (with a total of 4 writers involved) made it out for the team to seem to be on the losing end, and having to execute their exit plans fast, only for some other incident to drop in unexpectedly and derail those plans, testing their resolve and their honour amongst thieves. There's the classic Mexican stand-off moment too ala John Woo and Johnnie To involving both sides of the fence that got resolved pretty quickly, unfortunately, devoid of meaningful suspense.

Still, Takers still had its essential ingredient that fuels average B-grade Hollywood action films, so if you're ready for a compromise of a plot that will stretch what's believable and that of the actors constantly swaggering around, this is for that action junkie in you.

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