Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

This movie ‘Takers’ breaks down for you the kind of flick that you are in for from pretty much from its opening scene. Our Takers, which consist of an eclectic crew of nicely dressed handsome dudes, include top boss Gordon (Idris Elba), his right hand man John (Paul Walker), A.J. (Hayden Christenson) who is the fun guy that everybody loves who no doubt has to die because of this affection, and blood brothers Jesse (Chris Brown) and Jake (Michael Ealy). So our good natured criminals pull off this spectacular two million dollar downtown Los Angeles bank heist and finish it up by walking away in slow mo as the helicopter they just stole blows up. Under no circumstances should anybody ever walk slowly away from an exploding anything, much less a helicopter. Helicopters have these propeller thingies which tend to go every which-away when dislodged, usually resulting in severed body parts. But it did look sweet. Thus we have ‘Takers’ and if you understand ‘Takers’ you should enjoy ‘Takers’ as I enjoyed ‘Takers’. Looks sweet and had no basis in almost any kind of reality that I am aware of.

Life is really good for these criminals right about now. They don’t hurt anybody in these heists they pull off, they are paid and they are so much smarter than the LAPD that the chance of them getting caught are almost zero. But things are about to change because Ghost (Tip Harris) has just gotten released after serving six years for a job the crew pulled off some time ago, one in which Ghost got shot and captured. Ghost served his time and didn’t rat anybody out so you would think the crew would be happy to see him but for whatever reason nobody trusts this guy. It could be because he looks like a miniature brown version of Satan, but I don’t know. Regardless Ghost has the heist of a lifetime all lined up. This crew prides themselves on not being greedy, pacing their heists a year apart and planning them down to the tee but this armored car heist is just too sweet to pass up.

Big brother Jake in particular doesn’t trust Ghost because for one he has taken Ghost’s old girlfriend Rachel (Zoe Saldana) as his own and he knows this can’t make Ghost happy. Now to veer off for a moment because we aren’t saying anything about anything, and we do love us some Zoe Saldana here at the FCU, but there are other actresses of color out there besides Zoe Saldana who probably wouldn’t mind working every once in a while. I’m just saying is all.

Tracking these criminals are hardworking cops Jack (Matt Dillon), who burns the candle at both ends, lives for his job, is divorced and is arguably the worst dad ever, and Eddie (Jay Hernandez). Eddie on other hand is a great guy with a loving wife and a kid who is deathly ill and on dialysis. I was thinking they should’ve just put a bullet in Eddie’s head right there the minute he told us that. There are other little dramatic things going on in this movie like Gordon dealing with his drug addicted sister Naomi (Marianne-Jean Baptiste) and Jack dealing with Internal Affairs who take umbrage at his tenacity at beating up perps, but this is all about ‘the heist’.

Nobody trusts ‘Ghost’, to the point where they are ready and willing to put a bullet in his head at a moments notice, but the heist is on. Should our crew of hard working, well dressed criminals have trusted Ghost? Did I mention that he looked like Satan?

For whatever reason I am partial to heist movies, even completely over the top heist movies such as ‘Takers’ as long as our filmmakers keep it moving and keep the main focus on the movie all about the heist. Director John Luessenhop and the virtual legion of screenwriters it took to write this thing at least do that. This didn’t feel like a movie that needed four screenwriters but there you go. There are some things which might be a little silly in this movie, take like the opening bank heist. Idris Elba, who is British and speaks in his natural voice in this movie which is cool. The thing is I probably wouldn’t have a 6’2" 210lb black dude with a British accent being the voice of my masked bank robbing heist. Not a lot of people matching that description here in the United States. In fact if that were to happen in real life and that guy opened his mouth while my bank was being robbed, I’d be wondering why Idris Elba is holding up my bank. There are a lot of things in this movie that force us to put our brains to the side, too many actually, but this is a movie that rides downhill on rails with no emergency brake for backup so some these mad inconsistencies you’d have to think about once the movie is over, which is not recommended. The only thing I would say is that I wouldn’t have minded if they got rid off all of the little side dramas in this movie because they served little purpose except to get in the way. And that Chris Brown parkour themed foot chase sequence did seem to go on like forever. And our Takers were really mad at Brown’s character for killing a cop, but our crew was doing their absolute best to kill as many cops as possible during the heist… but we promised ourselves not to think about that stuff. Move it along.

True enough when those silly, pointless awards are announced it is unlikely that the name ‘Takers’ will come up, but for a lightning quick, fast paced heist flick, it completely worked for me.

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