Takers (2010 movie) review…

Takers (2010 movie) review after the break…

Takers (2010 movie) review…

Mediocre, it is often said, is so prevalent that it is invisible, which is to say that we encounter mediocrity so often in every facet of our lives that we tune it out as so much “background noise,” indistinguishable from the everyday chaos that we normally face.

“Takers” is a 2010 movie about a group of robbers who are goaded into taking a job only days after their last successful heist when one of their former members is released from prison. However, that former member may have ulterior motives for the heist, ulterior motives that begin to leave clues for a determined police detective to track down and interrupt their plans…

Heist movies generally fall into two categories – The movies are either about the heist itself or about the robbers. The movie “Heat” reintroduced the tale of the “bad-good-bad” bank robbers and the equally “good-bad-good” burnt out police detectives out to stop them. The tale was so bent on demonstrating that the only difference between the robbers and the guards was which side of the badge they fell on that the heist itself was almost secondary, each side acting with almost total disregard that a populace actually wandered through their city playground of paintball mayhem.

“Takers” clearly wishes to go to sleep and wake up being “Heat” on any given day – The parallels are unnerving and one must wonder if the screenwriters didn’t look upon “Heat” and challenge themselves to make their own version. Jack Welles, played by Matt Dillon set upon channeling as much Bruce Campbell as he can before lawyers serve him a ‘cease and desist’ letter, runs roughshod over his young daughter’s desires in pursuit of the bad guys… Just like a certain other film.

One predictable aspect of heist movies is that the robbers are always sympathetic folk – They’re just like you or me, except instead of going to the office to work, they’re breaking into it to steal something. The lads in “Takers” are just young, successful folks who, on the side, rob people. Jesse and Jake Attica are two brothers who own a successful upscale bar. A.J. loves his exotic vehicles and uncanny resemblance to the celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson (seriously, was she his stunt double?). John Rahway has a beautiful house and Gordon Cozier must grapple with a drug dependent relative. They’re normal people.

When a movie concentrates on the robbers, it then needs to provide compelling story arcs for them. Unfortunately, it’s hard to feel compelled for people who’s job is to point a gun at you, get you onto the ground so that they can rob a bank or other business blind. “Takers” doesn’t exactly make our robbers terribly sympathetic beyond one-dimensional strokes – One robber wants to get married (you know how that’s going to play out), another must cope with a drug-dependent relative. The others don’t have much of a story to tell and the movie must then fall on the shoulders of Matt Dillon as the police detective who isn’t afraid to sacrifice family to catch the bad guys. Even a side plot concerning Dillon’s partner falls flat. Can anyone say with a straight face that they didn’t know what was going to happen to his partner when they decide to chase the bad guys through the library?

The main heist riffs off of “The Italian Job,” with causing an armored car to fall through a road and into a subway tunnel. Not exactly original. While our robbers aren’t as proficient, they get the job done but the fact that more then a few viewers are going watch and wonder if there’s going to see a surprise cameo of Wahlberg and Theron driving a Mini-Cooper is definitely warranted. When the finale plays out near an airport hangar, one half expects Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro to be a part of the scene.

There’s nothing horribly wrong with the movie itself but the reality that it is heavily derivative of other films dilutes whatever impact it was meant to have upon the viewer. Why not have “Ghost” play completely honest with his old crew instead of double-crossing them like is heavily telegraphed? Why not have a heist movie where success ruins a crew instead of makes them successful? Why not reveal that Matt Dillon truly is as corrupt as his partner but just didn’t get caught? The fact that the movie doesn’t take any significant challenges is disappointing and while it might entertain fans of the stars, it won’t exactly entertain fans of the genre.

Takers is a film that is invisible in plain sight, mediocre in plot and execution. It’s a movie you’ve seen before and better, but with a different cast and slightly different setting. That’s the main disappointment – It’s not bad enough to be corny and not good enough to be memorable. It’s just there.

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