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Review: Takers

takers one sheetThe premise of Takers couldn’t have been better tailored to my cinematic interests. A team of criminals who engineer and pull off perfect robberies, with timing down to the fraction of a second, deciding to do one last job, even as they’re suspicious of the source of the information, while an obsessive cop is hot on their trail, determined to break the case.

Unfortunately, the film itself was so sloppy and riddled with clich├ęs that it quickly stopped being an homage and became more akin to a heist movie satire. By the end of the film, the audience was laughing at the melodramatic shoot-out, aghast at how a film that had started out strong had fallen to such abysmal lows.
The tough cop is Lt. Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) and the gang leader is Gordon (Idris Elba), with his partner John (Paul Walker). The rest of the gang are A.J. (Hayden Christensen), Jesse (Chris Brown) and Jake (Michael Ealy), and it’s clear through both wardrobe and cinematography that the vision was to have a very stylish group in the mold of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., etc). The problem? Sinatra and team were unquestionably cool, but Christensen, Walker and team are all fashion but no style, like mannequins in a boutique shop window.
If you like heist films, there are a number of terrific alternatives to Takers that are a better use of your time, including The Italian Job (either the wonderful original or the entertaining recent remake). In fact, at one point in the film, TJ refers to them “going all Italian Job”, but, no, Takers never got near that level of style and grace and collapses under its own pretentions.

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