Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 35
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

WHAT WENT WRONG IN THIS JOB?: Gang member A.J. (Hayden Christensen) finds himself in a shootout during one of their robberies. To see if he survives this particular shootout, you must see the movie.

Takers: T.I. Masterminds “One Last Heist” in Flashy Crime Caper

Kam Williams

The “One Last Big Heist” is a theme of the crime caper genre which has been quite popular over the years. Takers uses that formula in an entertaining fashion, recycling vaguely familiar scenes from movies such as The Italian Job, Ocean’s 11, True Romance, District B-13 and, most obviously, Heat.

When a cobbling together of stock elements creates a uniquely compelling adventure it’s generally referred to as an homage. But if the movie merely seems like a rehash of some other picture’s greatest moments, we tend to dismiss it as a rip-off. Takers teeters precariously on the dividing line between a hit and a miss, belatedly offering just enough edge-of-your-seat excitement to make you stop wondering where you might have seen this or that bit before.

Set in Los Angeles, and directed by John Luessenhop (Lockdown), the film features a talented cast headed by recently paroled rap star T.I. who is cast as Ghost, a recently paroled ex-con. Chris Brown co-stars, and his best scene is a great escape where he runs for his life.

As the film unfolds, we see a smoothly executed bank robbery that nets the gang (Brown, Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Michael Ealy, and Hayden Christensen) $2 million. However, before they can divvy up the take, their former gang member, Ghost, shows up unexpectedly, looking like someone who has just risen from the dead.

As long as the boys are willing to let him mastermind an armored car robbery five days from now, Ghost is willing to overlook the fact that he was dumped by his girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) while he was up the river. The gang agrees to the scheme, even though it involves breaking an unwritten rule that has them wait a year between burglaries. Several subplots explain the gang’s reasons for this deviation from the norm, such as Gordon’s (Elba) desperate need for cash in order to move his substance abusing sister (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) from a rehab center to a location somewhere in the Caribbean.

The pace of the movie picks up after we’ve become acquainted with each of the guys in the gang. The Los Angeles Police Department officers (Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez), who have been watching the crew, spring into action after they have become certain of the felonious intentions of the gang.

Fair warning: the stylized mayhem of detonations, chase scenes, and fight sequences that ensues, lacks the cerebral fare one ordinarily associates with a cat-and-mouse plot.

Mindless action scenes for fans of pyrotechnics.

Good (2 stars). Rated PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, graphic violence, and partial nudity. Running time: 107 Minutes. Distributor: Screen Gems.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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