Whipping audiences through the world of top-notch robberies, new flick “Takers” is sure to impress. While it sports a cast that will steal the hearts of female viewers, “Takers” is surrounded by a sea of action completely driven by testosterone. “Takers” ‘takes’ the audience’s attention from the get-go and does not relinquish it until the very last second, creating a uniquely tense moviegoing experience.
The film opens with a bank robbery, introducing five men perfecting their craft. The crime is flawless, and the cash is flowing — but of course something must arise to stop all the merriment. Enter Ghost (T.I., “American Gangster”), a disgruntled ex-convict hell-bent to get revenge on the crew he believes betrayed him. Concocting the perfect plan to snag $20 million, Ghost convinces the hesitant crew to help him in its execution.
While the crew struggles with its decision to trust Ghost, their prior bank heist is under investigation by the police, led by Jack Welles (Matt Dillon, “Armored”), who refuses to be distracted from the case at hand. The film follows the upcoming crime through several perspectives, as it switches between each character’s back-story.
Is trusting Ghost the right decision? Are the police going to discover the identities of the robbers, and, more importantly, is the current job going to be completed?
Fitting to its urban landscape, the cinematography of “Takers” slinks along a kaleidoscope of Los Angeles. Camera shots bounce across the screen, glancing in and out of the action at hand, which lends to an overall feeling of speed. This smoothness is the very essence of the film and is carried on throughout.
The majority of the film focuses on the storylines of Welles and the leader of the robbery crew, Gordon (played by Idris Elba, “The Losers”). Dillon brings a destructive fire to the character of Welles, well-suiting to the man consumed by his profession, despite the deterioration of his life around him. Successfully evoking sympathy from the audience, Dillon creates support for Welles and his partner, Eddie.
Elba, on the other hand, gives a realistic portrayal of the struggles an immigrant can face on the inner city streets. In addition, Gordon’s character provides a social commentary of the plight to be found in urban areas today. Battling to keep his junkie sister clean, Elba convincingly shows the inner turmoil caused from being torn between oneself and one’s loved ones.
This is not, however, to say “Takers” does not have its downfalls — most notably the casting of T.I. as Ghost. While deserving a large ‘A’ for effort, T.I.’s performance only falls flat and feels unsettling. T.I. would have been much better cast as another character, as his small frame and high-pitched voice are not befitting of the intimidating Ghost.
This mediocre performance is not entirely T.I.’s fault, as he is forced to play a character given absolutely no development. The script for Ghost is also rather stereotypical, as it relies more on slang than content. While the slang feels relatively realistic, this dependence only slows the film down and makes it seem as if the writers were trying too hard to make Ghost a stereotypical “hoodlum.”
Flatness of character is unfortunately echoed throughout the rest of the crew, who are only given screen time during moments of intense action. While the cast, including actors Paul Walker (“The Fast & the Furious 4—Hong Kong”), Hayden Christensen (“Quantum Quest”), Chris Brown (“Blood Rogues”) and Michael Ealy (“Flash Forward”) kick some major ass, their lack of development leaves much to be desired.
It seems “Takers” undertakes too much for its runtime, as it attempts to cover an excess of stories. The result of this becomes a plot driven solely by action and not depth. This lack of development only reflects negatively on the plot, as events happen without introduction or explanation. This is unfortunate, considering the plot twists the cliché of bank robbery movies into a new form.
While “Takers” tries to ‘take’ on too much, the film is nowhere near a failure, just as long as audiences plan to be ‘taken’ in by the action and not plot.
3.5 stars out of 5.