Monday, August 30, 2010

In 'Takers,' it's all been done before


Two stars

By Thomas Tracy

When writer/director John Lussenhop brought his movie “Takers” to the film gurus at Screen Gems, you can hear the pitch line now: “It’ll be like taking eye candy from a baby.”

Yet few audience members will be taken by this heist film foray that freely admits all the good cons have been done by better actors. The story is all flash but no light as the far-from-enlightened na’er-do-wells decide to pull a theft right out of “The Italian Job.” At least they took a second to credit the Mark Wahlberg movie for the idea.

The thieves are all strapping young millionaires, thanks to the heists they’ve pulled off with satellite-timing precision. They’ve just completed another successful bank job (taking a news helicopter in the process as an added touch), when incarcerated team member Ghost (rapper Tip T.I. Harris, the “Jay-Z of the South”) comes to them with an armored car heist they can’t turn down.

Since Ghost was shot and arrested during their famed 2004 job (which we never see), no one trusts him, yet their greed gets the better of them despite all the clubs and condos they already own.

They begin planning the heist while Jack Welles (Matt Dillon, “Armored”), a hackneyed crusty single parent, in trouble with the bosses despite being an always-right LAPD detective, is hot on their trail.

The devilishly good-looking desperados in designer suits try their best to take this B-rated heist film to the next level, but get bogged down under their own inadequacies — the most prominent being a lack of imagination. We’ve seen everything in this movie before, right down to Dillon’s questionably shady partner.

Yet, there are a few highlights: Hayden Christiensen (“Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith”), Paul Walker (“Fast and the Furious), Michael Ealy (“Flash Forward”) and Idris Elba (“The Losers”) all sport the “crime pays” glam with graciousness, even though Elba, for no reason whatsoever, keeps shifting between an American and English cockney accent.

“Takers.” Starring Idris Elba, Matt Dillon and Hayden Christiensen. Directed by John Lussenhop. Running time: 107 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, a sexual situation/partial nudity and some language. Playing in Brooklyn at UA Court Street Stadium 12 in Downtown, Kent Theatre in Coney Island, UA Sheepshead Bay 14, Bay Ridge Alpine Cinemas, and Linden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas in East New York.


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