TAKERS revolves around a notorious group of criminals (Idris Elba, Paul Walker, T.I., Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen and Michael Ealy) who continue to baffle police by pulling off perfectly executed bank robberies. They are in and out like clockwork, leaving no evidence behind and laying low in between heists.
But when they attempt to pull off one last job with more money at stake than ever before, the crew may find their plans interrupted by a hardened detective (Matt Dillon) who is hell-bent on solving the case.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
The guys in 'Takers' pride themselves on that name. They take money and give unto themselves. They are the very essence of "Takers." This leads us to the writing staff, who should also describe themselves in this fashion, as they see nothing wrong with completely ripping off a movie and even announcing that they are going to rip it off.
As the guys contemplate a new job, brought to them by their long-time friend, Ghost (T.I.) who was just released from prison, Ghost exclaims "I suggest we go 'Italian Job' on this." Well, he says something to that effect. Meaning, yes, they are going to rob an armored truck full of dough. And, yes they are going to blow a hole in the street so the armored vehicle falls through. You can tell there's a lot of creativity at work already, right?
'Takers' would like you to think it's more about its characters than its hackneyed heist plot, which has been plagiarized from a slightly more enjoyable movie, but it isn't. 'Takers' takes itself far too seriously. It's one of those movies where we watch high-end criminals trounce around in penthouses, canoodle with hot women, and constantly drink out of tumblers full of ice and bourbon. There's nothing interesting about this group of thugs in suits. Paul Walker and Idris Elba head up the cast. Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Michael Ealy, and Chris Brown round out the dull cast of lifeless lumps.
I've never seen a movie with a more uninteresting group of thieves. None of them have any fun or imaginative eccentricities, well, unless you count skinny Hayden Christensen playing a piano in a tank top an eccentricity. Heist movies are all the same. A team of people plan an elaborate heist, something goes wrong, but in the end it mostly works out. What makes a movie like 'Ocean's Eleven' enjoyable is the arrogant machismo of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon. They never take their roles seriously. It's almost as if they're a bunch of buddies that got together to make a fun movie.
I haven't even described any sort of the plot yet. Well, in a nutshell Ghost gets out of jail, and besides reminding us that T.I. should have stuck to his rap career, he brings the guys the details to a brand new heist that they can pull off. Of course, this is the heist of all heists. They've never seen this kind of money before and so it makes it acceptable for the team to take a few risks.
Dillon plays your stereotypical, off-the-cuff, I've-never-heard-of-The-Book cop who badgers witnesses and beats up suspects during interrogations. He's hot on the trail of this caper crew, but he's got his own problems to deal with, like Internal Affairs, and his rocky relationship with his daughter.
All of this culminates in a series of overblown chase scenes featuring some of the worst shaky-cam footage I've ever laid eyes on. There's an extended chase scene involving Chris Brown, which I'm sure was put in there just so we could see parkour in action. 'Takers' also fails to take into account the nature of its own characters. When the movie quickly turns ugly for the crew, these once greedy men have, in split second decisions, decided to turn into noble martyrs. It's a desperate plea from the movie to make us empathize with the characters, but instead it only solidifies our happiness that we're finally rid of them.
'Takers' is a slog, full of pretty people stealing money and drinking copious amounts of iced tea, I mean liquor. Oh and don't forget Hayden Christensen plays the piano so, um, there's that.
'Takers' is a hyper-stylized cornucopia of different camera filters. The 1080p picture looks rather good though.
There are times when the image is bathed in deep icy blues, and other times thate it's ensconced in warm yellows and earthy browns. Whatever color is taking over the shot, it look perfectly rendered. Fine detail offers some great facial detail with even the tiniest of beard stubble showing up on screen. Sometimes the filters used to create the coloring effects soften the details just slightly, but it isn't anything to get angry about. Blacks can come off as sort of crushing, especially when the blacks are being overshadowed by a dark blue tinge applied to the image. I didn't notice any technical anomalies such as banding or aliasing. Even during the expansive city fly-over shots, I didn't notice a single bit of aliasing on the city buildings, which was very nice.
If you're a fan of 'Takers' then you'll be very happy with this video presentation.
I was more or less underwhelmed by 'Takers' 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix. It never engulfs you. Instead the sound effects are all oddly centered in the front channels. Even when a helicopter circles overhead it doesn't really pan through the rear speakers, and therefore never sounds like the helicopter is coming down right on top of us. LFE is constant, but again, a slight disappointment. With all the gunfire, crunching metal, and explosions you'd think the LFE would be rumbling the pictures off your walls. Instead the bass stays pretty reserved and only lets off deep resonant rumbles occasionally. Dialogue is perhaps the worst thing about this mix. Overall, the dialogue is pretty subdued compared to the rest of the film's sound. There's a part toward the end where the Attica brothers are talking to each other in whispers and if you don't adjust your volume you won't hear a word they say. In a movie this action-oriented a more robust mix is expected, and in that area 'Takers' fails miserably.
- Audio Commentary — This is a busy commentary featuring director John Lussenhop, producers Will Packer, producer Jason Geter, and Tip "T.I." Harris. As if listening to T.I act wasn't bad enough, now you get to listen to him expound on the movie. Lussenhop gives some good technical information about the film and how it was actually filmed. It's obvious that he's proud of the movie. He covers a lot of the movie's filming locations and cinematography. Overall, this commentary is quite congenial. Everyone involved has a good chemistry with one another and they make it a somewhat breezy commentary to get through. That's if you actually want to subject yourself to 'Takers' a second time.
- Yeah Ya Know (HD, 4 min.) — I'm on T.I. overload now. Ugh. Here's a music video from him produced for the movie.
'Takers' is a mess from start to finish. It's ridiculous in its premise and outright dastardly in its plagiarism of 'The Italian Job.' Even though one of the characters actually tells us that they are taking this idea from that movie, I still can't help but shake the ineptitude of the writing team being unable to come up with anything else. There's no substance here, and Lussenhop tries to disguise that with shaky-cam chase scenes and glimpses of opulent lifestyles. The video is decent, but the audio needs quite a bit of work. The special features are a generic grouping of fluff. All in all, this comes as a rental if you're morbidly interested in seeing it. For everyone else, just avoid it.
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