by Sarah St. John
“Takers” revolves around a group of five guys (Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Michael Ealy, Chris Brown & Hayden Christensen) who call themselves…well, “Takers”. They run bank heists to support their posh lifestyle (fancy clothes, luxurious cars and elite parties). They leave no evidence behind and come up with elaborate escape methods that would make David Copperfield and Criss Angel jealous. If anyone gets in their way, they are well-versed in martial arts and can take down an army of men. After a $2M bank heist, a pair of LAPD detectives (Matt Dillon, Jay Hernandez) are eager to prevent another robbery, but the Takers tend to lay low and wait a year between jobs. That is, until one of their old colleagues, Delonte “Ghost” Rivers (rapper T.I.), is released from jail a year early and divulges his elaborate plan to take down a couple of armored trucks which will net the group twenty million dollars. The catch: they only have five days to prepare, and like any good heist movie, things will not go according to plan.
“Takers” is action-packed and fast-paced from the get-go. It will keep you on your toes and entertained throughout. The film has a unique sense of style that works particularly well during action scenes, as in a final-act shoot-out filled with slow motion guns blazing, bodies leaping about and the feathers from pillows flying through the air. Yet the film’s plot is so similar to “The Italian Job” that the earlier film gets a shout-out (“We’re gonna go Italian Job.”).
“Takers” offers subtle hints of humor through Gordon (Elba) and his “crack-head” sister, Naomi (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). We are never really sure why she is in the story, or how it is relevant other than simple comic relief, as Naomi repeatedly appears at the wrong time and place, completely out of touch with reality much of the time. Also somewhat pointless is the inclusion of Zoe Saldana’s character, who shows up in four very brief scenes, mostly without dialogue. Maybe her character was a victim of last-minute editing, but one would imagine the star of one of the biggest blockbusters of all time would be worth a little more screen time. In addition, eyebrow-furrowing ensues as Idris Elba switches back and forth between American and British accents as if he couldn’t remember what role he was playing. This is strange and distracting.
“Takers” does a nice job of forcing audience sympathy for its “good” criminal characters, to the point we can understand their choices and actions. Yet it also puts the viewer in the awkward position of choosing “hero” criminals over good cops, even when Hernandez’s Eddie is shown to have a shady secret. The trend of romanticizing thieves is not a new one, but the movie doesn’t allow the viewer to fall in love with the police officers. No, we want the bad guys to win. To balance all this out, there are those really bad guys who are after the Takers and their money.
“Takers” is above all a great action film and true to its hype. With its flash, style and youthful cast, it should do well in theaters during this final summer weekend. Those who have been waiting over a year for its release will not be disappointed. “Takers” will also make a great date movie, as it offers the fast-paced, driving action for the guys, and is loaded with eye candy for the ladies