Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Felix (John Leguizamo) is just a regular working guy with your typical regular guy type goings on. He has loving wife in Marina (Rosie Perez), a daughter who has a boyfriend he disapproves of and a young son he likes to talk baseball and play catch with. Unfortunately for Felix his everyday life is about to become a hell of a lot more complicated than he could ever foresee in this movie ‘The Take’ from Dimension Films.

Felix, you see, drives an armored truck to put food on the table along with riding partner Marco (Yul Vasquez) but this particular evening when Marco hops out of the truck to pick up lunch, one Adell Baldwin (Tryese Gibson) jumps in. Adell is not a very nice person, shows Felix pictures of his family and informs him should he press the panic button or do anything out of the norm of his routine, everything he knows, including himself, is dead. Felix complies, finishes his rounds with Adell in the passenger side seat and Adell’s crew of criminals in the back, takes them back to the home office where Adell kills everybody, steals the loot and puts a slug in Felix’s dome.

Incredibly Felix survives, but surviving a bullet in the head does come with complications such as violent mood swings, the inability to focus, and worst of all, impotence, which has to suck even worse when Rosie Perez is laying next you. Also complicating Felix’s already incredibly complicated life is the fact the pair FBI agents on the murder / robbery case (Bobby Cannavale and Matthew Hatchette) have only one suspect in the case, and that’s Felix himself. Things go from bad to worse as the completely reprehensible Adelle Baldwin, probably pissed that his mom gave him a girls name, has a thing about sharing his stolen money and loose ends floating around, and is doing his damn best to tie up all of it, particularly when he hears that Felix survived the bullet in the head that he personally delivered to him. Felix himself is sinking deeper and deeper into a crazed depression and has come to the conclusion that the only way he can regain his manhood is track down the man that took everything away from him. Obviously these two lunatics are on a collision course to destruction.

Directed by Brad Furman, ‘The Take’ is a reasonably entertaining, very gritty film which has a few things that are working in its favor. One of these things would be the almost post-apocalyptic look that Furman has given Los Angeles, giving the film a very urban feel to it, similar to the David Ayer films of recent years. This, combined with the general use of handheld cameras, added to the overall gritty tone and uneasy mood that is coursing throughout the movie. Another thing the movie benefitted from was another outstanding performance which John Leguizamo pulls from his arsenal of diverse talents. As the pre Lead-in-the-head wise cracking, easy going father and husband, Leguizamo gives a performance in the style that most of us are familiar with coming from this gifted entertainer, and of course he pulls it off with ease, but more surprising is the anger and hostility he’s able generate after Felix suffers his injuries. Leguizamo brings to the forefront in a completely believable manner his characters pain and pathology and his erratic behavior, including a lot of the less than sound decisions his character makes within the narrative. The marvel is that he was able to make this character basically the same before and after despite the drastic behavioral changes. Also, though his character was way underdeveloped and singular of dimension, Tyrese Gibson did make a viable bad guy and at times was virtually unrecognizable. Academy Award nominee Rosie Perez also gives a fine performance as the loyal wife trying vainly to keep her family together despite the difficult situation they are going though.

‘The Take’ is more effective as a family under duress drama than a thriller, not that it was bad thriller, but because like most thrillers things tend to start getting out of control on that front as the film moves along. Eventually Felix turns into a mini-McGyver with his ace phone tapping techniques that he picks up along the way which came off as less than believable. Felix’s detective skills seemed very effective as well, especially considering he’s able to do what a team of FBI agents can’t seem to figure out what a brain damaged delivery driver managed to solve. This film also possessed what could be the longest foot chase scene in movie history, which was cool and all, it’s just that I didn’t think that one ofthe  dudes shouldn’t be running from the other dude being how he’s brain damaged and all. Considering what a super total badass asshole this cat was made out to be, what’s he doing running from people?

Still, despite those few niggling issues I might have had with the movie, ‘The Take’ was a fine film that was well paced and very well acted for the genre, plus it had Matthew Hatchette in it who used to play for Jets. That in itself is almost enough to warrant a five star review.

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