Takers (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
January 18, 2011 by Dennis Amith
“Takers” is a popcorn action flick that has plenty of balls-to-the-wall action, awesome shootouts and on Blu-ray, the film looks and sounds absolutely wonderful.
Images courtesy of © 2010 Screen Gems, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
FILM RELEASE DATE: 2010
DURATION: 107 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English, French, Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: R (For intense sequences of violence and action, a sexual situation/partial nudity and some language)
RELEASE DATE: January 18, 2011
Directed by John Luessenhop
Written by Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus, John Luessenhop, Avery Duff
Produced by Jason Geter, William Packer, T.I.
Co-Produced by Nicolas Stern
Executive Producer: Chris Brown, Gabriel Casseus, Morris Chestnut, George Flynn, Glenn S. Gainor, Jason Geter, William Packer, Nicolas Stern
Music by Paul Haslinger
Cinematography by Michael Barrett
Casting by Lindsey Hayes Kroeger, David Rapaport
Production Design by Jon Gary Steele
Art Direction by Chris Cornwell
Set Decoration by Dena Roth
Costume Design by Maya Lieberman
Chris Brown as Jesse Attica
Hayden Christensen as A.J.
Matt Dillon as Jack Welles
Michael Ealy as Jake Attica
Idris Elba as Gordon Cozier
Steve Harris as Lt. Carver
T.I. as Dalonte Rivers/Ghost
Jay Hernandez as Eddie Hatcher
Zoe Saldana as Lilly
Johnathon Schaech as Scott
Paul Walker as John Rahway
Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Naomi Cozier
Gaius Charles as Max
Gideon Emery as Sergei
Zulay Heano as Monica Hatcher
This high-stakes action thriller stars Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Jay Hernandez, Michael Ealy and Tip “T.I.” Harris. After pulling off a spectacular series of brilliantly planned bank robberies, a notorious team of professional criminals attempts one last heist, a once-in-a-lifetime job with a $25 million payoff. And all that stands in their way is a cop hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to solve the case and bring the TAKERS down. Chris Brown and Hayden Christensen costar in an adrenaline-rushed thrill ride packed with twists and turns.
An action-packed, adrenaline-driven cops vs. robbers film with an all-star cast!
“Takers” was released in theaters back in the summer of 2010 and features an all-star ensemble cast which includes Matt Dillon, Michael Ealy, Chris Brown, Idris Elba, T.I., Jay Hernandez, Paul Waker, Hayden Christensen and Zoe Saldana.
The film is directed by John Luessenhop (“Lockdown”) and features a screenplay written by Luessenhop, Gabriel Casseus, Peter Allen, John Rogers and Avery Duff. The film featured a budget of $32 million and earned $68 million in the box office.
“Takers” revolves a group of professional arm-robbers dubbed “Takers”. Led by Gordon Cozier (played by Idris Elba, “The Losers”, “Obsessed”, “Luther”), joining him is his right hand man John Rahway (played by Paul Walker, “Fast and the Furious” films), his strategist and planner A.J. (played by Hayden Christensen, “Star Wars II & III”, “Jumper”) and brothers Jake Attica (played by Michael Ealy, “Miracle at St. Anna”, “The Good Wife”, “FlashForward”) and Jesse Attica (played by Chris Brown, “Step Up”, “More Than a Game”). The group have outwitted the police and are excellent when it comes to major bank robberies.
Meanwhile, hot on their tail are investigators Jack Welles (played by Matt Dillon, “Crash”, “Wildthings”, “Armored”) and Eddie Hatcher (played by Jay Hernandez, “Hostel”, “Crazy/Beautiful”, “The Rookie”) who have been trying to catch the Takers for quite awhile.
But things start to unravel for the Takers when a former member of the group Dalonte Rivers aka “Ghost” (played by Tip “T.I.” Harris, “American Gangster”, “ATL”) returns to the group after his release from prison and wants the cut of his money that the group has or in return, they take part in a major heist to steal money from two armored vans. But the catch is they have only five days to prepare.
None of the group trusts Ghost, especially Jake as he is now dating Ghost’s ex-girlfriend Lilly (played by Zoe Saldana, “Avatar”, “Star Trek”). But Gordon reminds everyone that they are Takers and it’s what they do.
Ghost is working with a Russian mob and is able to get sewer routes underneath the Los Angeles streets of where the armored trucks are driving through. All they need to do is score some C4, blow up the road underneath the armored cars and steal the money once the cars fall into the sewer.
But investigator Jack Welles has caught a lead when they bust two Russian gangsters and see a wristband that says “Dalonte Rivers” and feel that if they find out who Dalonte Rivers is going to, they will be able to nab the armed robbers that they have been pursuing.
Who will become successful at the end of the day…the Takers or the LAPD?
“Takers” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio) and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s track record of magnificent picture quality continues as the overall look of “Takers” is stylish. The cinematography of capturing Los Angeles by cinematographer Michael Barrett (“Bedtime Stories”, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”, “Bobby”) is wonderfully captured. Because the director and producers wanted Los Angeles to be like a character in itself, typically when the camera is focused on a character, the background is blurry. But in this case, both the character and the Los Angeles skyline, various buildings and landmarks are seen clearly through the background.
Colors are vibrant, blacks are nice and deep and the detail is impeccable. You can see the detail when Paul Walker holds his rifle with the sights to the shine on a weapon, the sweat and grime on skin, there is a great amount of detail and overall, this is a wonderful transfer. I didn’t see any artifacting or video blemishes, this is a very awesome looking film on Blu-ray.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Takers” also sports one hell of a lossless soundtrack. Presented in English, French, Portuguese 5.1 and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, its the lossless soundtrack that truly excels.
Due to the amount of action, from gunshots, helicopter explosions, cars crashing into each other, crowd ambiance through the surround channels, there is a lot going on in this soundtrack and it’s a very good example of an awesome, immersive soundtrack. While not top-tier to films with constant action and explosions, there is a good amount of action throughout the film, especially during a scene with a gunfight between the Takers and another group. That scene really rocked with front and surround channels going crazy and I was impressed. Dialogue and music is crystal clear through the center and front channels but this is another lossless soundtrack done well!
Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
“Takers” features the following special features in High Definition, English Stereo and subtitles: English, Spanish and Portuguese:
- PS3 Wallpaper Theme – If you have a Sony PlayStation 3, you can install a “Takers” wall-paper theme.
- BD Exclusive: movieIQ (use logo) and BD-Live connect you to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie!
- Filmmaker and Cast Commentary – A pretty cool audio commentary with Director John Luessenhop, Producers Will Packer, T.I. and Jason Getter. Intriguing commentary especially how T.I. was very grateful to everyone who was part of the film as he gave a special gift to everyone involved.
- Executing the Heist: The Making of Takers – (11:13) The talent of “Takers” talk about their characters and producer Will Packer talks about how the film was inspired by the movie “Heat”.
- Take Action! – (10:08) A featurette on the action sequences. From how Chris Brown did the majority of his stunts, blowing up a helicopter scene and the money truck drop to the sewer.
- “Yeah Ya Know (Takers)” By T.I. – Promotional Music Video – (4:31) Featuring a Takers promotional video with T.I.’s “Yeah Ya Know (Takers)” song.
“Takers” is one of those popcorn action flicks that may be derivative and has been compared to “Ocean’s Eleven”. Well, personally I enjoyed “Takers” much more than “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001). “Takers” is a film that balances urban-chic with as the film does showcase Black men, they are not gangsters. These guys are a criminals that live the good life, are very meticulous when it comes to their planning and in someway, the film manages to make you feel sympathetic for the criminals.
Also, the primary difference with “Ocean’s Eleven” aside from the all-star cast is that “Takers” does have its ramifications, not everyone is going to live by the end of the film and personally, it’s one of the biggest problems I have had with “Ocean’s Eleven” is that you want to see some sort of ramification between the cops vs. the robbers. In this movie, not only is it cops vs. robbers, it features Russian gangsters vs. the robbers and also some double crossing that although not too surprising, you feel content by how things play out and how the film leaves things open for a sequel.
I felt the stars of this film had great chemistry. Idris Elba as the leader, Paul Walker as the right hand man, Michael Ealy, Chris Brown and Hayden Christensen do a pretty solid job. In fact, it was good to see a more edgier, kick-ass side to Hayden Christensen’s character. Also, surprising was to find out that Chris Brown did many of his stunts for the film and was insistent of it (according to Brown, 96% of the stunts are by him).
The cinematography was also worth noting as how the filmmakers are able to capture Los Angeles and its building and landmarks and showing them behind the talent and capturing the city’s beauty while the camera is focused on the talent.
But as much as I enjoyed “Takers”, the screenplay does have some problems. The storyline tries to humanize the character of Gordon Cozier by throwing him a curveball by bringing his addict sister Naomi Cozier to the film. Personally, I felt this storyline was unnecessary and it draws people away from the action and from the core group. I understand the filmmakers want to show a side to Gordon that makes you feel sympathetic but I felt that it was unnecessary as it takes Gordon away from “The Takers” as he is too preoccupied of where his sister runs off to.
Another storyline that I felt was unnecessary was regarding the two investigators played by Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez. The screenplay tries to showcase the men with their faults and personally, we know that everyone has their own personal faults but as much as the “Takers” were a group that have been literally untouchable, it would have been better to showcase the LAPD investigators in a way as fearless and are willing to do all it takes to capture the Takers but the screenplay goes off into a tangent and once again, although the storyline worked, I didn’t think it was necessary.
You typically want to see the police as strong and as smart as the people they are going against and in this case, the film gave you this no confidence that these two investigators had what it takes to captures these guys. It was like watching a an old Laurel & Hardy film about how they are always able to outwit the police and police are shown as dumb and inept. If a sequel is going to be made for this film, at least give the police some credibility.
Overall, “Takers” is a popcorn action flick that has plenty of balls-to-the-wall action, awesome shootouts and on Blu-ray, the film looks and sounds absolutely wonderful. But if you are wanting something deep and original, “Takers” is not that kind of film. It’s stuck within the banality of other similar-type of films and is more of a popcorn action-flick which has panache, cool cinematography and an intriguing cast of characters.
If you are in the mood for an action-based heist film, definitely give “Takers” a try!
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