“Takers” borrows from its genre without embarrassing itself
Because of a lack of much serious competition, “Takers” might do fairly well at the box office, and it should do even better on Red Box when it becomes available on disc. A nice B-level heist film for which $1 rentals are perfectly suited. While it goes a little overboard hyper-stylizing certain scenes, it can at least be appreciated for making a serious effort to be entertaining and action-packed.
Meshing together an ensemble of journeyman actors that nonetheless fill their roles dutifully (if not remarkably), the story pits a group of well dressed streetwise bank robbers portrayed by Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy and rappers Chris Brown and Tip “T.I.” Harris against a determined but flawed veteran cop (Matt Dillon) and his young partner (Jay Hernandez).
The completed film supposedly sat on the shelf for a year, which partly explains why the smoldering Zoe Saldana has a small role that she accepted just before she hit it big with “Star Trek” and “Avatar.” But the now A-list actress has nothing here about which to hang her head.
When a former member of the crew is released from jail and immediately proposes an armored car roll worth $25 million, the gang somewhat reluctantly decides to go for it. If it had known that Russian mobsters were involved greater care would have been taken.
The film works best in its action set pieces, including one of the best foot chase sequences in recent memory. And it features an ending that feels a little more realistic than the typical formula product. Heist films are most interesting when the planning stages are carefully choreographed, and while “Takers” doesn’t go to great lengths to examine details, neither does the film slow down. Its 107 minutes are filled with lots of shooting but little bloodletting and the pace is brisk.
The climatic shootout suffers from an attempt to add more style than is necessary. We could have done with fewer slow-motion effects played over an operatic underscore, less gratuitous, dizzying handheld camera work, and without the many lingering close-ups. These faults keep “Takers” from being a perfectly executed low budget underdog triumph.
As it is, “Takers” is a wannabe that is nevertheless difficult to criticize harshly and is easy to enjoy.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action a sexual situation/partial nudity and some language.