Starring: Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Michael Ealy, Idris ELba and T.I.
Passing itself off as ‘The Expendables’ for the younger generation, Screen Gems’ new crime thriller ‘Takers’ features a slew of younger action stars with non-stop explosions and stunts. While not receiving as much press coverage as other summer films, and only working on a budget of $20 million, a modest amount for an action movie, ‘Takers’ ultimately proves it can grab its audience’s attention and not let go.
‘Takers’ starts off with a bang, showing a group of professional robbers pull off a spectacular heist in a Los Angeles bank, led by Gordon Jennings (played by Idris Elba). His team includes his right-hand man, John Rahway (portrayed by Paul Walker); weapons builder A.J. (played by Hayden Christensen); gunman Jake Attica (portrayed by Michael Ealy); and his younger brother Jesse, the runner (played by Chris Brown). The group decides to relax and enjoy their cash, which totals more than $2 million. Unbeknownst to the group, they’re actively being searched for by determined detective Jack Welles (portrayed by Matt Dillon), and his partner and friend Eddie Hatcher (played by Jay Hernandez).
The robbers’ normal routine of waiting a year between heists, which they do to avoid capture and thoroughly plan their next robbery, is interrupted by their old cohort Ghost (portrayed by T.I.). After being released a year early from jail for good behavior on the day of the bank robbery, Ghost wants back in on the action. He convinces the team to help prepare for a job that he set up in jail, with the help of the Russian mob.
Director John Luessenhop, who helped co-write the movie, made the smart decision to show the sides of both the robbers and the detectives. The audience is always left one step ahead of both sides, as the script goes back and forth between the robbers and the police. But neither side’s long-term plans are ever revealed, leaving enough suspense to keep the viewers guessing on what everyone’s going to do next.
Along with fellow co-writers Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus and Avery Duff, as director Luessenhop achieved their goal of not having the robbers taking themselves too seriously. While they don’t break the law outside of the heists and do the best they can to take care of their families, Gordon and the rest of the group know they’re not the most upstanding, law-abiding citizens in L.A.
Of the actors who play the robbers, Christensen stands out the most, however. He made the wise decision to move away from the sci-fi genre, notably his Razzie Award-winning role of Anakin Skywalker in the three Star Wars prequels. While his role of A.J. is more of a supporting one, Christensen brings comedic relief to the serious crime drama. Not as much of A.J.’s past is revealed as the other robbers, but he still brings an authenticity to the role, leaving the audience wanting to learn more about him.
Dillon, however, didn’t bring as much of a spark to his role of Detective Welles. Dillon seemed like a logical choice to cast in ‘Takers,’ since he starred in last year’s crime thriller ‘Armored,’ which was also focused on heisting money. He was also in 2005’s Academy Award winner for Best Movie, ‘Crash,’ for which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of L.A. Sgt. John Ryan.
But Dillon didn’t bring anything new to the role of Welles, even though he earned top billing for the movie and was therefore considered to be the “main actor.” He just played a stereotypical detective obsessed with cracking a big case, and neglecting his daughter during the few times he actually gets to spend time with her.
While there isn’t much character development in ‘Takers,’ as there are so many thrown in the script, there is enough of a plotline to keep audiences entertained. Fans of the numerous actors in ‘Takers’ will surely like the movie; however, it’s aimed at older fans, as it was rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, a sexual situation/partial nudity and some language. While the film most likely won’t take the top of the box office, it will take audiences on a joy ride.
Written by: Karen Benardello