by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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Takers is the story of six smooth criminals whose big hauls from bank or currency heists help support their lavish lifestyles. Never has a bank been robbed by such nicely dressed, fine men. The gang has been working with a band of five since one of them, T.I. (sort of art imitates life or vice versa) is serving prison time for a job that went sour six years ago. But he’s back on the scene and wants the crew to pull off a $25 million armored truck heist, which is big potatoes compared to the measly $2 million that the gang just ripped off in a finely executed bank robbery, complete with explosions.
However, the gang isn’t going totally undetected—a smart cop played by Matt Dillon, thinks that something is up, and he’s on a mission to catch the male fashion models—oh, I mean bank robbers. Dillon works under the direction of the top cop played by veteran actor Glenn Turman.
The gang, led by Idris Elba, who plays Gordon Jennings, is surprised to see T.I. and equally concerned that he is now trying to push a big job within days, which isn’t normally how the gang works. T.I. is working with a Russian mob, and the job involves triggering the city’s electrical system to control the stop lights and traffic to the gang’s advantage while they wait on the armored car to come into an underground garage. The plan is to throw an explosion and overtake the two cars. This plan reminds me a bit of the Italian job, but I also marvel to see the expertise put into the tripping of the light system through high-skilled technological knowledge. Other members include Chris Brown as Jessie Attica and Michael Ealy as Jake Attica (two brothers). T.I. plays Ghost, Hayden Christensen plays A.J. and Paul Walker plays John Rahway. It’s not lost on me that some of the gang members have surnames that are associated with prisons. The two Attica boys are close, and they are thick as thieves (no pun intended) until the end (think of Set It Off).
The movie is good enough, seeing that it was the top-grossing movie for its first weekend, although some of it seems familiar. T.I., who is a rapper and has recent woes because of an arrest, also just served a prison term. And his acting completely needs work. He sounds really unpolished with a southern accent, which is no stretch. What really impressed me, however, was a chase scene that featured Chris Brown running from the cops, after he’s killed an officer after the $25 million heist goes completely wrong. The chase lasted at least three minutes, with Brown running over cars and through traffic, actually getting away.
Another surprise for me in Takers was Jennings’ sister Naomi, played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste. She’s a recovering drug addict who happens to sign herself out of rehab just as the gang is in the middle of planning the heist—bad news for Jennings’, as she only gets in the way and distracts him.
Takers is a good action movie filled with Zoe Saldana, fancy cars, clothes and apartments, which shows a different type of gang; one that is slick, urbane and eye pleasing for the women. The movie is in theaters now.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.
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