Directed by: John Luessenhop
Premise: A pair of police detectives (Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez) investigates a high profile bank robbery. At the same time, a former partner (Tip ‘T.I’. Harris) of the group of thieves is released from prison and proposes a daring new heist.
What Works: Takers is an uneven film but when it works, the film really works. The family drama given to Matt Dillon’s police detective and Idris Elba’s thief provide the characters with some dimension and give their quests additional meaning. The distrust between the crew of robbers and their estranged ally provides a lot of tension and the film adequately disguises his intentions. The third act of Takers, from the robbery through the shootout in the hotel, is very impressive (if heavy handed) and temporarily breaks the film out of cliché.
What Doesn’t: Although Takers has the kernels of some potentially interesting subplots, none of these stories are followed through to a meaningful conclusion. Most of the subplots are abandoned almost as quickly as they are introduced and the ending doesn’t really add up to anything. Some characters get shot and others escape but there does not seem to be any thematic design for who gets killed or who gets away, as though the screenwriters were just randomly picking off cast members as they moved through the story. The film also suffers from two incidents of miscasting. Hayden Christensen plays one of the burglary team members and he does not exude the sense of violence or lawlessness that his character ought to possess. Also miscast is rapper Tip ‘T.I’. Harris as the ex-con trying to manipulate his way to a big score. Like Christensen, he is too fresh faced and looks more like he just walked out of an Abercombie and Fitch store than a federal prison.
Bottom Line: There is just enough done right in Takers for it to merit a mild recommendation. It may not be a film that audiences will talk about in a few years but as a cops and robbers tale, the film works.
Episode: #307 (September 26, 2010)