TAKERS looks great but is just OK after the fact

TAKERS is a movie I considered skipping because I’m not that guy to recommend a movie based on the actors alone, however I did like it and could tolerate some of its issues.

My initial opinion was based on that everyone I asked about the movie said nothing of what makes the movie good besides swooning over the lead actors. I admit that most people I asked were female. That wasn’t going to make me shell out money…I don’t care if they were on the cover of GQ. I had a friend say it was good movie and I wouldn’t violate any man laws by seeing it. So I took my lady and we saw the movie. Glad to say I liked it, but it isn’t without its issues.

The story is almost a triple threat match centering on a large heist. In one corner is the “takers” whom are professional robbers that use automatic weapons, C4 and elaborate escape and execution of their plans. Then there are the police trying to catch up to them, with two such officers bending rules and becoming obsessed with the job, and then there is the renegade element that threatens to turn up all sides for their own benefit.

As I said, there are things I like and dislike here.

What I liked is the action is actually exciting.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a solid slam-bang action movie that didn’t star anyone from “The Expendables.” The action starts and literally does not stop. It’s fast, brutal, and violent, and no holds barred… while still in a PG-13, but I can see an unrated/R-version on home video in the future.

The opening scene, the keynote truck heist and the foot chase with Chris Brown are exceptionally well done, and I’ve seen enough stuff explode in flames and get riddled with bullets on screen to know my action, so kudos. The movie moves really well without any lag time and that’s good considering the audience can get real fickle for action movies. There was some rest breaks and some slower tension for good measure, but nothing inherently boring.

It also helps that the actors were actually good, with my favorite performance going to Tip Harris (or as we know him T.I.)  I knew he was good since watching “ATL” not too long ago, but he kicks it up a few more notches to a very commanding screen presence and a memorable character with the best lines…

“Put three in ya head like a bowling ball!”

That’s just good writing and delivery in my writer’s opinion! Now as good as the actors are they are missing that quality of “why should I care about you?” We call that character development.

The characters were a bit underdeveloped, an almost default flaw of action movies. There is more action than people to care about them getting killed. Paul Walker and Zoe Saldana are sorely underused and underdeveloped, but they do their best with the little time. Walker even gets his own trailer worthy action piece lol. Zoe…not so much and I kind of wondered why the woman who STARRED in 2009’s biggest hits ever didn’t have more to do… such is Hollywood (though Rainforest Films, an Atlanta based production was involved in the film).

On the effect of characters, I did not know who I was supposed to root for because none of the characters are inherent heroes/good guys/antiheroes and they’re not entirely villains, though some have more villain traits than others. It helps me to know who we need to invest in, rather than letting people decide for themselves. Sounds a bit condescending but it helps to frame the movie overall. Another hang up I have is with the ending. I thought it just kind of ended. Maybe I was expecting a better sense of finality or wanted the movie to go longer, but it didn’t. The ending is not bad, just underwhelming. The movie fell trap to the common action flick drawbacks unfortunately, because it has a unique approach.

In the end, if you’re looking for solid action, its here in spades. Other than my hang-ups about the film, I can recommend you see it and it’s entertaining enough that you might like it as much as I did. Guys and especially the girls (one part of the film will have women having special dreams long after the credits roll) will enjoy the film.

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