Idris Elba, Matt Dillon among stars in typical heist film
from a long line of superior heist pictures. The meticulous Los Angeles bank
job at the onset boasts many of the usual tricks—the choreographed assault of
masked men in the bank lobby and disabled security cameras—but is shot in such
a whirlwind blur that you can barely appreciate the skillful criminality.
Finally the gang lures a TV news copter to the bank roof and hijacks it as
their getaway vehicle, zipping past the Hollywood
sign as they make their escape. The crooks never break a sweat even when
blowing up their chopper and speeding off in expensive sports cars. Like much
of what follows, the grounding in actual possibility is slippery at best. The
computer-enhanced hijinks hijack the real action.
The twist in Takers is that the gang and the cops in
pursuit are all sympathetic. The kingpin, Jennings
(Idris Elba), has checked his sister into an expensive rehab clinic and plans
to move her back to the Caribbean after one
last job. His multiethnic crew embodies honor among thieves, even while living
the high life of hot tubs on a terrace overlooking the bright lights of Los Angeles. Both of the
detectives on their tail, Welles (Matt Dillon) and Hatcher (Jay Hernandez), are
devoted family men, albeit Welles pursues Jennings
through heavy traffic with his grade-school daughter in the passenger seat. Bad
parenting, or just a flat-footed step toward comic relief?
Internal Affairs is
pressing down on the L.A.P.D. partners for breaking too many bones in the pursuit
of justice. By contrast, the crooks seem eager to get on with their work
without spilling blood. But anxiety enters the picture when a former gang
member, the cocky, self-assured Ghost (Tip “T.I.” Harris), elbows back in after
serving time. He’s got this great plan he worked out in prison with the help of
burly Russian mobsters. Jennings
just doesn’t know for sure…
Composed from the pseudo-arty ticks beloved by some young filmmakers—the in-your-face close-ups, the restless camera and in-a-hurry editing—Takers introduces characters that could be more likable if they weren’t so thinly drawn. It’s all been done before, but better.