Takers (tbc)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner30/09/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 107 mins

Stylishly directed thriller with some terrific action sequences and mostly strong performances, but the cheese factor is ridiculously high, the characters are thinly drawn and it's morally dubious to say the least.

What's it all about?
Directed by John Luessenhop, Takers stars Idris Elba as Gordon Jennings, the leader of a group of high-flying thieves that includes John Rahway (Paul Walker), musician A.J. (Hayden Christensen), and club-owning brothers Jake (Michael Ealy) and Jesse (Chris Brown). After completing their latest precision executed heist, the gang are set to take it easy for a year, but when shifty ex-gang member Ghost (Tip T.I. Harris) gets out of jail and presents them with a $20 million armoured car job, they greedily accept, despite only having five days to come up with a plan.

Meanwhile, two dogged police detectives (Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez) are slowly closing in on the gang, despite having problems of their own.

The Good
The performances are mostly fine, with Elba and Dillon the only real standouts, though Walker and Christensen are surprisingly decent, considering they're practically interchangeable in the good-looking cardboard blond department. It's only really Harris that lets the side down, delivering a performance that's too mannered to really convince, while Zoe Saldana is so badly under used (as Jake's girlfriend) that it's practically an insult.

The film's biggest strength is Luessenhop's direction, which is stylish and fast-paced throughout. He also orchestrates some terrific action sequences, most notably a lengthy free running foot chase and a tense, close quarters shoot-out.

The Bad
That said, the film has an extremely high cheese factor, something that's telegraphed early on as the group coolly walk away from an exploding helicopter; it's also evident in the music choices during the shoot-out scenes. On top of that, the characters are severely underwritten (Ealy, Saldana and Brown get particularly short shrift) and the film has a weirdly dubious moral viewpoint, in that it shows them living great lives through their thievery and suggests that their only crime was in getting greedy and taking on that extra job.

In addition, the film seems to have been severely trimmed in order to achieve its 12A rating, with at least two violent scenes occurring off-screen and a fairly obvious slashing of Saldana's part.

Worth seeing?
As Friday night thrillers go, Takers just about scrapes a pass, with the fast-paced direction and impressive action sequences ultimately compensating for the underwritten characters and the high cheese factor.

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Content updated: 14/12/2019 01:34

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