Don’t let ‘Takers’ take your hard-earned cash

Three aspects make heist movies great:  intensity, production quality and the ability to suspend disbelief.

“Takers” hardly makes the grade in those categories and is by far one of the worst movies I’ve seen this year.

It is a typical revenge/heist gone wrong story.

A professional crew of bank robbers just completed their annual job. Their lavish lifestyles are interrupted when one of their own, Ghost (Tip “T.I.” Harris), is released from prison and approaches the group with a big job:  steal an armored car loaded with millions of dollars.

This story has been done before, but it sounds like it would be cool, right? Wrong.

For starters, the cast was absolutely absurd.

An assortment of rappers, crappy actors and some actors just looking for a paycheck show up on screen. Hayden Christensen is the group’s tough guy (who thought that was a good idea?), Chris Brown (yes, the one you’re thinking of) is the immature dude and Idris Elba is the always fearless robber.

Paul Walker took a break from “Fast and the Furious” to phone in another garbage anti-hero role and to collect another paycheck. There are a few others, but they’re not really worth mentioning. Oh, yeah, Matt Dillon is the loose cannon cop after the group, and if anyone should be able to act in this motley group, it’s Dillon. Too bad the script did not do him any favors, nor did it help the rest of the cast out.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the script was written on napkins at a local Dunkin’ Donuts in Hollywood fifteen minutes before the big pitch to the movie executives.

Cheesy dialogue (along the lines of “That’s what we do. We take. We’re takers.”), half-hearted jokes and failures to sound half-way intelligent run rampant.

That’s not even the worst of it.

An exasperated truck driver yells, “The street blew up,” while Ghost narrates John’s (Walker) actions, every other word being an expletive.

If that was not bad enough the situations these characters get into are downright awful. Jesse (Brown) has a minute long parkour scene while running from the cops.

In one jump he manages to vault over a minivan in rush hour traffic.

In Brown’s joke of a chase, it seemed like the camera cut about every two seconds in an attempt to hide the hilarity of him pole vaulting over moving traffic.

One character, looking like a John Woo reject, dies while leaping over a couch, guns blazing.

Two others decide they have nothing left to live for and decide to start killing cops.

Detective Jack Welles (Dillon) chases after the bad guys with his daughter in the car.

Is it possible for any moviegoer to like these characters?

Everyone else that appears in the film is stiffer than cardboard.

Of course, (spoiler alert) the Russian gangsters that Ghost secretly works with have those stereotypical accent and every other cop is gruff and grisly.

When you have T.I. and Chris Brown, who needs creativity?

Director John Luessenhop does his best to compensate, and sometimes he manages to turn a piece of charcoal into a diamond that it remains untarnished for about a minute.

An overly-artistic façade was used in an attempt to hide the poor acting and plot points.

Tons of partially obscured camera angles are used to give the film a gritty air. Close-ups are used a lot, making the film look a little bit like a commercial (the first two minutes could have been a Ray-Ban ad).

Later in the film, two main characters decide to take on an army of cops and get taken down.

Luessenhop proved in an earlier fire fight he could film a cool looking battle, but when two main characters get gunned down, he ruins it.

At times, “Takers” had me cringing from awful writing, holding back unintentional laughter and forcing me to comment out loud how big of a pile of steaming refuse the film was. I hate movie talking, so that is an indicator of how ridiculous “Takers” was.

Save your money for another movie, because “Takers” is worth less than the cost of the paper your ticket is printed on.


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