We're takers, gents,” growls Idris Elba’s bank robber to his crew. “It’s what we do for a living.”
And take’s exactly what John Luessenhop’s film does: from Heat, Point Break and every other modern urban crime thriller in which well-drilled thieves go toe-to-toe with dogged lawmen. But just because you know what you’re getting, doesn’t mean you won’t like what you get.
And while Takers never dares to veer from the basic cops-and-robbers formula, especially when it comes to admitting women into its testosterone-lacquered locker room, it remains a slickly satisfying genre exercise with sufficient thrills, spills and frills to keep you hooked.
Elba – here using his Lahndahn accent – is Gordon, a criminal disciplined enough to only pull off one big heist a year. But that goes out the window when old colleague Ghost (rap star Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris) swaggers out of prison with blueprints for an armoured car raid that could net his former associates a $30m payday.
Music to the ears of John (Paul Walker), A.J. (Hayden Christensen) and brothers Jake and Jesse (Michael Ealy and Chris Brown). No sooner is the job in motion than things go awry – much to the delight of Jack Welles (Matt Dillon), the LAPD detective determined to bring Gordon down.
With ingredients this familiar, it really comes down to how they’re cooked. Though Luessenhop’s movie could use some down-time between courses, it still serves up some tasty set-pieces en route to its Mexican stand-off conclusion.
Would that Takers had found room between its shoot-outs to give Zoe Saldana something more substantial to do than waft about decorously in the background.
Solidaction fare that hits predictable beats with enough verve to justify its existence. Think Kubrick’s The Killing remade by MTV.