It’s not often you assemble a big cast of low-level actors (at least in terms of popularity, not necessarily talent) and actually manage to produce a film that turns a profit. You often see these kinds of films flop straight onto home video but Takers had enough glitz and glamor going for it that writer/director John Luessenhop was able to deliver a product that was theater worthy but to also entice audience goers to go see this film in such a fashion that it’s $32 million dollar budget was more than doubled. Though not well received by critics the film was a mindless action flick and audience pleaser, something that came at just the right time during the dry months of August/September.
This high-stakes action thriller stars Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Jay Hernandez, Michael Ealy and Tip “T.I.” Harris. After pulling off a spectacular series of brilliantly planned bank robberies, a notorious team of professional criminals attempts one last heist, a once-in-a-lifetime job with a $25 million payoff. And all that stands in their way is a cop hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to solve the case and bring the TAKERS down. Chris Brown and Hayden Christensen costar in an adrenaline-rushed thrill ride packed with twists and turns.
I really wouldn’t call this an intellectually done heist movie by any means; in fact as cunning and suave as the Oceans movies thought they were, it was really just the debonair cast that helped sell it as such. This cast is similarly flashy with their dress and cars, but the spark just isn’t there. They’re fun to watch individually but as a group you don’t really see any cohesion other than the fact we’re told they work together well. They all seem like very separate, individual men who don’t really exude any need to continue doing this. Christensen is the only one who really looks like he has fun doing what he’s doing (and to his credit I was rather impressed with his performance here—not to mention the Cadillac he was driving, a very underrated XLR-V model), everyone else looks bitter or rather uninterested in it all. Paul Walker especially—you get a sense that he’s the co-leader of the group (next to Idris Elba), but…I don’t know. There’s just no real sense of cohesion.
Of course we’re led to believe that there’s some unbelievable twist coming up that will alter everything…but it was what you expected from the moment the film started. Although Dillion’s ultimate character resolution wasn’t what I expected, what I got out of the group was pretty much a given…although I figured they’d get caught, I will say the way it happened was mildly surprising. I guess on one hand it was a terribly predictable film, while on the other it took a few liberties with the paper-thin plot to make it a bit more original. While I won’t spoil it they really didn’t leave any room for a sequel to happen and the ultimate fate of Christensen’s character was rather surprising in how it all played out (although that particular action sequence in question was oddly executed).
There was plenty of eye candy with this film; not only were all the actors all prim and proper but the cinematography was very well done; whether it was the indoor lighting of bars or nightclubs or the homes/apartments of some of the characters, there was a lot about the film that was visually interesting (Zoe Saldana included). It was definitely a very pretty film to look at and really all of its shortcomings stem from just how predictable it was for the most part. I really don’t know how you’d make a formulaic heist film any more original than what Luessenhop attempted to do here. Considering this is only his second film (and his first in a decade), major props have to be given to the man for pulling off a film as successful as this, even if it isn’t all that gratifying a picture otherwise.
Overall Takers is a very formulaic film but those that are a fan of the genre will enjoy it a bunch. If you shut off your brain and just enjoy the film for what it is you’ll likely find the ride to be quite nice. Worth a Rental.
Takers finds a home in a standard single disc Elite Blu-ray case—and that’s it, really. No DVD copy, no digital copy…nothing. A bit of an oddity to not include a digital copy, although Sony seems to be ditching that for a few of its films as of late. All in all menus are simple and easy to navigate and the BD-Live integration is the standard affair.
Moving onto the AVC encoded 1080p 2.40:1 transfer we get the usual flawless presentation out of Sony. The majority of the film oozes detail out of all of the frames, boasting plenty of detail in the myriad of sequences that range from daylight to nighttime in the city (and the accompanying nightclubs). On top of that we have plenty of detail on character faces and the like. The audio matches the visual presentation with incredible dexterity. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix thuds and booms at every turn, spreading the love around to all of the surrounds and making full use of the LFE output. There’s a lot of tension to be had in this film and the films rapid pace combined with the cornucopia of sound effects made it a definite pleasure to listen to. In addition there is plenty of surround and subwoofer work from start to finish and overall an aurally satisfying movie.
PS3 Wallpaper Theme
Filmmaker and Cast Commentary
Executing the Heist: The Making of Takers
“Yeah Ya Know (Takers)” By T.I. – Promotional Music Video
Not a bad mix overall although if you take the commentary out of the mix there isn’t even a half hour of extras between the featurettes and other BD-Live components. Still not a bad mixture overall as the commentary has a solid group participating (Luessenhop, producers Will Packer and Jason Geter and actor “T.I.” Harris) and it’s an entertaining listen overall, especially to hear Luessenhop’s thoughts on everything. For being only a director two times in a row he sure has a lot of insight into the whole process.
Overall a disc that’s worth a Rental.
Takers is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.