Frontline journalism, that is what you expect of this blog, right? I know, and as heavy as all of this expectation might be on my tender mind, I’m never unwilling to feed you as a reader what you eagerly demand. So I’ll give you a movie review before the movie has actually been released. And I was just about to conclude the preceding sentence with a (!), cause really, how good is that?
I know it’s not really impressive, thank you. Plus, it probably already started its run in the US anyways so I’m lagging behind depending on the country from which you access this site. And I really only give you a review, cause I went to the sneak preview of a local Heidelbergian cinema, not because anyone would actually really let me see a movie beforehand.
Yadda yadda, what the heck are you talking about, honey? is probably what you ask your computer screen. I’m about to review Takers right in front of your eyes. It’s a flick directed by John Luessenhop, produced by the studios Rainforest Films and Grand Hustle Films and I was right about my earlier assumption, cause it was released to theaters in the US in August 2010, while it took a little longer to come out here in Germany.
Whatever happened to the careers of Paul Walker, Chris Brown, Matt Dillon, Hayden Christiansen and T.I.? I could start the review like that. Or with: What do you expect from a film featuring Chris Brown, Hayden Christiansen, Matt Dillon, T.I. and Paul Walker? Well, I personally, expect nothing. Not only next to zero but absolutely super-fucking nothing at all. Which was probably the best position to start from.
What we get is a movie about a gang of 5 men, who are thieves. They rob a bank and later on attempt to steal about 30 million US-Dollars from a money transport and their whole life is built upon that money in that they spend their time having a good time in expensive clubs, wearing expensive suits, smoking expensive cigarettes and drinking expensive scotch. Oh and yeah, expensive cars and beautiful women, who’da thunk it. On the other side we have Matt Dillon as a cop with his partner, the two of them struggling in their personal lives but ever so willing to forget about their personal problems in order to solve the case.
Let’s dive deeper into our subject matter, okay?
It’s a movie for all those teenage boys around the western world, who like to think of themselves as sometimes thugs who are just too clever for life and alla that shit and their girlfriends who think that being with a thug is the ultimate goal, cause really, they can have a heart too, and class, cause that you can buy (and not knowing any other definition of class other than equalling it with lots of money definitely helps). So it glorifies the whole thing of steal the money and get out as quickly as you can, without ever really asking why we might think of these guys as super-annoying assholes. Admittedly, the movie tries to go all moralistic on us by throwing in brotherly bonds and a drug-addict-sister to remind us that there are more important things in life, but the storylines are as clichéd as you might expect and really don’t alter any of the underlying message.
Big part of that of course is also sexism. Cause really, what would our tough guys be without pretty and readily available women. Don’t expect anything in terms of passing the Bechdel Test here, we have three female characters, one of whom is a child, whose names we know and who of course never even come close to interaction. The closest we get to females interacting with each other is two beauties in a pool sipping Champaign and waiting for a naked Paul Walker to come and “take” them. Yah, it’s horrible, but that doesn’t come as a surprise at all. Small, as in really tiny-little, Kudos to the film for the character of drug-addict-sister Naomi Cozier, because she really defies the genres norm and is in no way your average hot-chick-for-tough-guy type, but looks and to some extent acts her part and adds a little depth to a movie where I expected none.
Then there is good cop and bad cop, as in two partners, one of them with a really messed up personal life, but very righteous, and the other one having it all (seemingly) with dirty secrets, though both of them are really supposed to be the good guys. Matt Dillon in his role is never likeable but that is what the movie wants, so good job, and his more approachable partner does a good job holding up against him.
There is lots of violence and while the shooting each other thingy with all the bad guys doesn’t really gloss it over (except for one horrendous scene where the score is so cheesy the whole audience took a collective laugh), there is the issue of Matt Dillon cop being the “I beat every suspect up and get what I want” type, which is nowhere near sufficiently problematized. The movie makes a distinct point that his superiors condemn his use of violence on the job, but then again the whole movie also presents a story where all his use of violence results in no consequences for him at all, except for the fact that it helps him to solve the case, kinda. Which is not the sort of message I want sexist teen and twen-boys to hear, but yes you’re right, no one cared to ask me first.
So, I hadn’t even heard of the film before, nor would I have cared about it if. It is a very curious experience to sit through a movie that you basically tolerate because you give in to its inherent yet completely involuntary ridiculousness, while approximately 80 percent of the rest of the audience cheer and think it’s actually really cool to be a sexist bank-robber with the lamest one-liners in the world.
Cause yeah, I’ll give you that: I found it entertaining to some extent. If you like a mindless action movie, this is not a bad one. On the technical side, it’s very hectic, lots of handcamera, shaky sometimes, with fast cuts and quick change of scenery. The whole movie is constantly on the move and that is probably what saves it, since it never left me sitting there being bored. It is not exactly exciting, but interesting to watch and wait for the things that happen to happen. Having said that I could have done without 90 percent of the dialogue (if not all), for it not only NOT adds anything to the story most of the time, it’s also very much of the blah-type if not downright embarrassing, and I sincerely hope much of it can be attributed to the horrible German dubbing. Then again, they didn’t have anything more substantial to say in English I guess, so really, without any dialogue this flick might have even worked better. Which is not the definition of a good thing for movie writers, I guess.
Overall, this movie is a C minus in my book. It’s not horrible as in boring, offensive (well, not entirely) and completely stupid, but it is nowhere near good either. Skip it, if you can.