Takers Gives You a solid movie.

”I need a new suit.” That’s what I kept thinking during the movie “Inception” and again during “Takers.” I like that Hollywood is dressing up their leading actors more often these days.
“Takers” is a story about a group of efficient, professional thieves who meticulously plan their robberies a year in an advance. They take their jobs seriously and leave little room for error. There is no one shining star in this crew.  The team has great balance between the members played by younger Hollywood such as Hayden Christensen, Paul Walker and Michael Ealy.

The audience is tossed into two different action sequences from the start with no explanation of why we are watching these scenes. It’s like waking up in the middle of cage fight then getting punched in the back of the head and the face simultaneously. After the disorientation, your head starts to clear up and things start coming into focus. The moment of clarity arrives and you are in the movie.

After the opening bank robbery we are introduced to the team of Takers. These guys are suave and know how to present themselves. It was like watching a group of “Esquire” magazine models relax after a hard day at the office (if that office specialized in bank robberies). They all wear expensive suits, drink high-end scotch and smoke fine cigars. They each retreat to their own slice of heaven to relax. The director (John Luessenhop, I don’t know who he is either) spends a lot of time building their image through a slow motion reunion before they go into their own private club. For having only recently done a bank job together they seem to revel in their male bonding and handshaking quite extensively.

This life of the Takers seems too good to be true with very little conflict. That is why we are introduced to Ghost (played by Tip T.I. Harris) an ex-member of the Takers crew who is being released from prison. Seems that back in 2004 these guys did a job where Ghost was shot and sent to prison. He’s not mad about it though, in fact he has one last big score for his old crew.

Meanwhile, the two detectives (Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez) assigned to the Takers’ bank robbery start gathering the information they need to track this crew down. We turn to the classic “cops and robbers” formula and we have seen it before.

The Takers start getting ready for the heist while more is being revealed about their personal lives. These side stories set the movie apart from the rest of the movies in the genre.  In this case it is a close family member that gives Gordon (played by Idris Elba) a reason to accept this heist but it also gives him a lot of problems.

Family is also giving the detectives problems. Jack Welles (Dillon), the detective, is a single dad who is having problems going through his separation. This immediately brings us back into the typical cop drama. Why is it that almost every movie cop in LA is divorced? Seriously, I think Danny Glover’s character in “Lethal Weapon” was the last detective who as able to bust bad guys, take hundreds of bullets to the chest and still keep his marriage together.

The story progresses at a good pace until the big action fueled bank heist. There was a little too much of the shaky camera syndrome. Note to Hollywood – we know what you are doing, stop it. The shaky camera action sequences don’t work every time. Slow it down and try something else; it’s giving us a headache.

Warning, you have seen the heist scene before in a previous film, I won’t say which one but this time they didn’t use Mini Coopers for the action sequence. Instead there was an elongated foot chase that seemed to last for hours. Another note to Hollywood – most Olympic athletes can’t fall from a tall building, be hit by a bus and then sprint for a 1/4 mile while dodging bullets so don’t try making us believe that Chris Brown can pull it off and still look good doing it.

Should you see this movie? Yes, it will keep your attention and most of the action is believable. There is genuine balance and chemistry amongst the characters. The director did try something different by putting a twist in the middle of the movie instead of at the end. He gets points for that.  He also gets points for the elaborate shoot out scene; I applaud his choice of string instrument background music and lack of loud gun noises to give it a huge impact. Now if you will excuse me, I am off to shop for a new suit.

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