Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Tip 'T.I'. Harris, Michael Ealy, Chris Brown, Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Jay Hernandez, Zoe Saldana, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Steve Harris, Johnathon Schaech, Gaius Charles, Gideon Emery, Zulay Henao, Glynn Turman, Nicholas Turturro, Isa Briones, Andrei Runtso, Vladimir Tevlovski
Written by: Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus, John Luessenhop, Avery Duff
Directed by: John Luessenhop
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, a sexual situation/partial nudity and some language
Running Time: 107
Date: 08/04/2010
IMDB

Takers (2010)

1 Star (out of 4)

Bad Job

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Five crafty robbers, Gordon (Idris Elba), Jake (Michael Ealy), Jesse (Chris Brown), A.J. (Hayden Christensen), and John (Paul Walker), pull off an intricate heist that leaves the cops baffled. After the job, the rich robbers are about to disappear, when their old partner "Ghost" (rapper Tip "T.I." Harris) gets out of jail and shows up with a new offer. He has the route to an armored car delivery, and they will have only five days to pull off this difficult job. Worse, Jake has just proposed to the Ghost's old girlfriend, Rachel (Zoe Saldana). The robbers agree to take the new challenge, but LAPD detectives Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) and Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez) are hot on their trail. Oddly, the clues lead them to the Russian mafia. Just how dangerous is this armored car job, and who will survive?

The disparate cast tries hard to bring some personality to the movie, but their characters seem short-changed by the bad writing. Rapper Tip "T.I." Harris -- who also co-produced -- brings a kind of sinister, snaky quality to his ex-con, but poor Saldana fares the worst of all, showing none of the toughness she exhibited in earlier movies. She's now just a "waiting, worrying" girlfriend.

Four credited writers and rookie director John Luessenhop can't make it credible that these five, careful, meticulous planners would take on the armored car job based on information from someone they don't trust. From there, the movie falls to pieces in the midst of well-staged, but poorly-shot, and ultimately ridiculous action sequences; it's all rather rushed and joyless. It culminates in an increasing rain of violence, and since none of the characters has any redeeming values, it almost doesn't matter who is left standing. Yet, there may still be some "so-bad-it's-good" value to the movie.

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