It’s frustrating to see good films relegated to direct-to-DVD or obscurity while bloated, action films touting less than big names get theatrical releases and a number one at the box office. So it is with the latest heist film, Takers. Takers plays like a flashy music video, high school play, and direct to Spike TV movie all wrapped up into one. With a less than stellar cast of the blandest actors and musician turned actors around, is it safe to say Takers is one of the worst movies of the year…yes it is.
After Ghost (rapper T.I.) is released from prison he guilt trips a group of his friends, thieves themselves, into pulling off a heist in order to pay him back. Jake (Michael Ealy) doesn’t trust him while the other members of the group see it as a way to finally get what they want and retire. Throughout the whole thing a cop (Matt Dillon) is hot on their trail as he deals with some personal issues of his own.
It’s going to be really hard for me to find anything good about Takers as it’s a truly bad film. The only good thing about it is Zoe Saldana as Jake’s girlfriend Rachel. Unfortunately Rachel doesn’t get anything more than 5 minutes of screen time and an ending to her story that never really makes sense. This movie has been sitting on a shelf for awhile so its safe to say this was made before Saldana was a huge star but considering she gets a hefty bit of trailer time it would have been nice for her to have some type of personality…that’s the only good thing I can say about this film.
Takers for the most part is a spoiled, indulgent piece of filmmaking trying to make cops look like martyrs while the bad robbers get their comeuppance and the good robbers get redemption. Honestly this movie is so disjointed and all over the place it’s almost as if director John Luessenhop hasn’t seen a movie in 20 years. Every character has symbolism for some unknown reason, case in point the brothers played by Michael Ealy and Chris Brown has the last name Attica, original. You never feel or connect with any single actor in this movie as their purpose for being in the film is shoved down your throat with a baseball bat. Dillon’s character, Jack Welles, is the typical jerk cop yet throughout his partner will reference his troubles with his wife or his lack of relationship with his daughter to make everything okay. Said partner, played by Jay Hernandez does something illegal, but it’s ok because it was in the pursuit of his family, only to have him commit some type of suicide at the end “like he wanted to!” He committed a crime for his family and thought his death would make their lives better? It’s this type of half-assed message that doesn’t make sense at all. Are we supposed to condemn the “takers” or embrace them for their actions? The movie also tries way too hard to be “hip” and I don’t mean the addition of T.I. and Chris Brown in this film. The movie has a slew of party scenes involving a guy in a pool with two women, an overabundance of slow motion and explosions galore. At the end two characters aim to go out like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, again mixing the message and trying way too hard to go out with a bang.
As if the movie itself isn’t bad enough we have the fine cinematic acting of the cast involved. Idris Elba has no concept of project-picking as he plays the exact same character he’s played in everything recently. The same goes for Matt Dillon and bland Paul Walker. If you’ve seen any of the three actors past films from the last five years, you’ve seen their role in Takers. Michael Ealy would have been great if his character wasn’t hampered by a weak storyline and having to ride Chris Brown’s coattails. It’s hard to watch Brown embrace a life of crime and have a long-winded speech about not going to jail for anything in light of his past and that really ends up hurting the movie as he tries so hard to be bad. His jumping off rooftops is the most he does, other than that he looks pained and brooding. The rest of the cast is marred by trying way too hard to be bad-asses. Hayden Christensen seems to be embracing the Ocean’s Eleven style of the 60’s with a ridiculous hat and he feels the need to don the Bob Dylan voice he used in Factory Girl to the point of laugh ability. The worst of the group is rapper T.I. who seems almost ready to burst into a rap by the way he talks and draws out certain words. Add to this a glare that is meant to be menacing and no acting skills whatsoever and its hard to figure out why he was considered bankable.
Overall Takers is bad, flat out terrible. It’s still too soon to say but this could be one of the worst movies of the year, and yet it was number one at the box office. Go figure! Save your money and time and avoid this movie like the plague, hopefully I’ll be able to believe it was all a bad dream.