Takers - Blu-ray Review

'a tick-box exercise in common heist film archetypes and stylistic schemas'

Takers is a stylishly suited film which has the unfortunate pedigree of being directed and written by a man who's only made two films in ten years, a fact which is made painfully obvious by the vast amount of cliches on show as the plot winds down to a predictable set of endings for its ensemble.

Navigating Takers plot is a tick-box exercise in spotting common heist film archetypes and stylistic schemas. There's a good cop/bad cop duo (Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez), a mysterious newcomer (T.I.) to a group of professional heist men, a wizened old leader who needs to pull one last job (Idris Elba) and a token love-interest with a history (Zoe Saldana).

No cliche is left undiscovered, nor does writer/director John Luessenhop risk not exploring them to their fullest - everything here is as over-wrought and over-explored as it gets. Take the cops for example. Not content with wasting Hernandez and Dillon as characters straight from NYPD Blue's stock list, Luessenhop goes the whole hog; Dillon is devoted to his job but separated from his family and struggling to connect with his daughter, Hernandez is devoted to his family but struggling to earn enough money to support them from the job he loves. Every possible element that could have been lifted from previous examples of the genre is included, right down to the heist method, which appears to come directly from the remake of The Italian Job.

Cliches duly accepted, there are times when this threatens to become an enjoyable action film. Elba is as good value for money as he ever has been and senior partner Paul Walker mainly provides a good foil for him to play off. T.I. is never anything less than a weaselly underling but that is what the role asks for whilst Chris Brown, attempting to carve an acting career out for himself, steals the best action sequence and shows a depth beyond that which you could be forgiven for expecting from a rap-star-turned-action-hero.

For every positive point though Takers has an equal amount of painful opposites. The plot quickly devolves into a set of conveniences (at one point, Dillon and Hernandez hustle an all-too knowledgeable fence for God's sake) which ends too quickly whilst ticking off the ensemble's individual conclusions as if the production was quickly running out of money. It'd be nice to say something good about Hayden Christensen for a change but here it's just impossible to do so: he's the weakest thing on show by a mile, not helped by Luessenhop who gives him a horribly shot, slow-motion nightmare of a conclusion.

Several flash suits, a nice colour palette and some unexpected good work from Brown and others can't save Luessenhop, the director obviously out of his depth when trying to orchestrate a heist on this level.

Look further...

'filled with two-dimensional characters, a predictable plot, and no heart' - Good Film Guide, 6/10


  1. couldnt agree more...takers was such a disappointment.

  2. Absolutely. In general I quite like this sort of thing too.