‘Takers’ Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:44 am,

takers paul walker hayden christensen cast michael ealy zoe saldana Takers Review
Screen Rant’s Sandy Schaefer reviews Takers

Have you ever known a suit-wearing hipster that enjoys boasting loudly about how totally awesome he is and imagines himself to be a trendsetter – when really, there is absolutely nothing original about the way he dresses or how he talks?  If that guy were a movie, he would be Takers.

Every cliché plot element, stock character, and bit of visual flair that has ever reared its overused head in an action movie or heist film shows up in Takers, with one exception – no one in the movie gets to throw their head back in despair and scream “NO!” Honestly, it’s kind of disappointing that director John Luessenhop did not go for the gusto and include that one as well.

Savvy criminals are always the main characters in a heist movie and Takers is no exception.  The crew of skilled thieves includes jazz piano player A.J. (played by Hayden Christensen); gentlemanly Jake (Michael Ealy) and his ex-convict brother, Jesse (Chris Brown); the professional type, John (Paul Walker); and the leader of the group – with a spiffy accent to boot – Gordon (Idris Elba).

The gang pulls off yet another profitable job (the plan for which apparently involved commandeering a news chopper) around the same time one of their former comrades, Ghost (rapper T.I.) gets out of prison early for good behavior.  He approaches the group with the promise of a very profitable job involving the takedown of an armored van, with less than a week’s time to prepare – despite the fact that they always wait at least a year before attempting another high-stakes job.

Gordon and his fellow bank robbers are immediately wary of Ghost’s proposal – and not only because 1) Ghost spent several years in jail after one of their jobs went wrong, and 2) His old girlfriend, Rachel (Zoe Saldana, wasted in a role that has her onscreen for maybe 3-5 minutes total) recently became engaged to Jake.  For reasons that are never fully explained (greed, I suppose), the Takers decides to do the job anyway.

Takers movie image Takers Review

The 'Takers' crew

Meanwhile, police detective Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) leads an investigation to find the group and bring them to justice.  He is your stereotypical movie cop (workaholic, personal life is a mess, etc.), except that, oddly enough, he is not actually that good at his job.  Jack is also a definite contender for the Worst Parent of the Year Award – especially after he pursues the Takers in his car WITH HIS PRE-TEEN DAUGHTER RIDING SHOTGUN and almost gets the both of them killed.

The Taker’s plans predictably go awry, which results in a lot of explosions, gun fights, and an on-foot chase sequence that involves Chris Brown’s character, Jesse – who apparently has the athletic abilities of Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and a professional sprinter all rolled into one. [SPOILER AHEAD] He is also cornered and killed at the end of the film, going out in a blaze of glory that feels like a rip-off of the ending of Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid [END SPOILER].  Shockingly, the end credits reveal that Chris Brown was one of the producers of Takers as well.

Takers in general is simply a lifeless affair – the characters are one-dimensional and lacking in the areas of emotional depth and charisma; every twist and turn in the plot can be spotted from a mile away; and it is legitimately not clear what the movie was even about, in the end – something about “crime doesn’t (always) pay,” perhaps.

These matters aren’t helped by the fact that the film’s director of photography, Michael Barrett, decided to go with a District 9 aesthetic.  Viewers prone to feeling woozy when they watch movies with a lot of messy, hand-held camerawork should beware since Takers is a poorly done example of that mode of filmmaking – not to mention the fact that the editor seemingly suffered from a severe case of ADD (and in the age of the Transformers and Jason Bourne movies, that is saying something).

Takers Movie Image Takers Review

Takers wants to be the kind of crime drama that Michael Mann (Heat, Public Enemies) would make and it shows.  The film is shot like a gritty actioner and the cast members spend a good portion of their time onscreen trying to look cool – all while pounding hip-hop music blares on over nearly every scene.  Ultimately, the movie tries so hard to be slick and stylish that it becomes flat-out annoying.

Those that are really in the mood to see a good heist movie that involves men strutting around in expensive suits – not to mention lots of gunfire and explosive set pieces – should pass on Takers and just go see Inception again instead.  It might even be playing at the local dollar theater now.

Takers trailer:

[poll id="69"]

Our Rating:

2 out of 5

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  1. ugh. based on how this review was written, i have a strong feeling the movie was not as bad as it was made to seem

    • Marc,

      Why do you say that?


      • Don’t get me wrong Vic, I’m in no way saying the review was poorly written, nor do I have any sort of fealty to the movie. It’s just that this review seems to get more and more subjective. Obviously a certain amount of subjectivity will always be present–needed even. However, the review struck me as a little cynical. When that happens, there’s usually a disconnect between how enjoyable the movie actually is and the reviewer’s ability to distance him/herself from that cynicism. This isn’t to say that when I see it I won’t agree with the reviewer, but it’s been my experience that a movie ends up much better than portrayed in these instances. Sorry to write a book. I didn’t want you to think I was just hating on the author lol.

        • @ Marc Glove

          My intent wasn’t to seem cynical or hate on the movie for the sake of it – everything I wrote was based off my judgement of the film’s artistic merits and not the intention (good or bad) behind it.

          I know a lot of casual reviewers tend to berate movies because they star certain actors or whatnot, but I strive to not do that myself. Even my comment about Chris Brown producing the movie was meant to be more of a common sense judgement, not a slight towards the guy personally.

          Does that make sense?

          • Sure does! Thanks! Hope I didn’t offend you.

    • I just saw the movie and asked myself, “Who made, and why did they make Takers?” Then I saw that T.I and Chris Brown were major producers. It seems like rappers and hip hop artists just aren’t as popular as the they used to be. So, perhaps this movie was made to boost the fledgling careers of T.I. and Chris Brown. If that’s the case then I respect their attempts at diversification and self-promotion, but, having seen the movie, I think I’ll pass if they produce/star in another. But it was the musician’s first attempt at making a movie, so maybe they’ll improve and make some high quality films in the future.

  2. Is hayden trying to look like tom waits lol. As a musician i don’t think i could take him seriously.

  3. Also i like the hipster reference in the beginning. Nice writing sandy!

  4. In the review it said the professional type, Scott (Johnathon Schaech) I think it was suppose to say John Rahway (Paul Walker)

    • CJ,

      My apologies – good catch on that.

      Needless to say, Walker’s character was not exactly memorable.

  5. This movie looks completely uninteresting,from the mismatched cast to the story.


    • EXACTLY! Although I do think we need send Hollywood a clear message that we won’t just eat junk food all the time. You’re right, a good popcorn flick is, sometimes, just what the doctor ordered.

      • I agree,I don’t think anyone want 50 popcorn flixs each summer but every now and again they’re fun to watch (see The Fast & The Furious series).

        • I agree. I love watching stupid, fun movies but the only fun part of Takers was the major action scenes when the armored trucks are captured and when Chris Brown is chased. Other than that, I was bored and didn’t care about the characters.

    • I saw the movie. The only fun part was the major action scenes when the armored trucks are captured and when Chris Brown is chased. Other than that, I was bored and didn’t care about the characters.

      • Sorry. I didn’t mean to post twice.

  6. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it… (or break it)

  7. I knew this movie would be trash from the beginning, and Sandy, great job reviewing. So so happy to see that 100% of Ranters gave a 0% liking. Chrsi Brown was wasteful!

  8. Yeah i can’t agree with you guys. Just cause it’s a popcorn flick doesn’t make it good or watchable. Personally i like sustenance im my films. But hey to each their own. And i always trust the screenrant crews’ reviews.

    • That’s not what we’re getting at. I too, want and need movies with substance. What I’m saying is that I have no problem with one or 2 popcorn movies. Also, when I say popcorn, I don’t mean garbage lol.

      • Hey Marc,

        You’ll need to go watch the movie and tell us what you think. :)

        And you’re right there’s a difference between popcorn and garbage (BTW, I haven’t personally seen this one, so I don’t know which I would consider it). Some movies can be enjoyed for just what they are (Piranha 3D comes to mind) but sometimes so-called popcorn movies just plain stink.

        As to the tone of the review, my assumption would be that since Sandy found it to be so awful, he decided to have some fun with writing it. :-P


        • I’ll let you know as soon as I do. My last comment had nothing to do with this review btw, It was just generally speaking to popcorn movies lol. Just hoping I didn’t offend anyone, it wasn’t my intent.

  9. Wait, only three people voted, including myself.

  10. When I first saw the poster for this with the awful photoshop and Hayden Christenson’s stupid hat I knew that a 2/5 would be the best it could be. Honestly I’m surprised it even was a 2/5, so many actors in here I just do not care for at all, Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez being two exceptions. Idris Elba and Zoe Saldana are alright, but everyone else I either haven’t seen enough of or just do not care for at all.

  11. I’m hearing alot of bad things about the hand held camera work in this movie which I think filmmakers need to take a break from. I actually like to see the action!

  12. Only thing good in this flick is the mob guy played by Gino Pesi who in that scene schools Walker and Hayden on acting while they school him in a beaqtdown. I think that Gino guy won,.

  13. I’ll pretend I’m shocked lol. I boring looking film with no plot and no character and more bad actors than I can count on one hand. Including one of the worst of the decade Paul Walker.

    • Has Paul Walker ever done a good job? He wasn’t exactly terrible in “Flag of our fathers”, but then again he was killed off pretty early in that one.

  14. I’m a fan of Christensen, but Paul Walker is offensively bad in everything, but the main thing to put me off ever seeing this is the involvement of Chris Brown. I’d like to beat him with a heavy object, prefferably a solid metal piano dropped from a crane onto his head.

  15. Did you ever make anything as an exercise? You know, to see for yourself what’s involved. Make your own mistakes, see for yourself what works, how it all comes together. Maybe that’s what this is, a practice movie…

    • In that case it should be on USA instead of charging people $10 to see it.

  16. “Takers in general is simply a lifeless affair — the characters are one-dimensional and lacking in the areas of emotional depth and charisma…”

    Why am I not surprised with Hayden Christensen in this? That line can be used to describe every single character he’s ever played.

    • Or not. Depending on your opinion.

      • To each their own, Sam, but I think he’s even worse than Keanu. At least I’ve LIKED some of his characters (Bill & Ted, The Matrix). Hayden has been awful in everything, in my opinion of course.

    • Did you see “Shattered Glass” with Hayden? that was the movie where I said, “he can act”. I think he & his agent just choose poor scripts and he sleep walks through them for the paycheck.

      Heck, even Olivier did that in his later career.

      • Yeah I have seen it, it’s excellent

      • Sorry, I’ve better things to do with my time than sit through another Hayden Christensen film. You know, watch paint dry, watch grass grow, clip my toenails, read the entire United States tax code, well basically anything is better than watching another one of his films.

  17. Drsam I think any decent guy out there should want to beat Chris Brown I’d enjoy making his face look like the face of the girl he beat.

    • Yup. The fact that he wasn’t imprisoned goes to show the true state of justice in these modern times, if you’re famous, you can get away with just about anything.

      There are words to decribe him, but Vic would delete the post.

      • I don’t know; Vic just might make an exception for this. :-)

      • if he werent a celebitry, he wouldnt done some time.

  18. Just wondering… Why would you put such a big spoiler in a movie review? That’s definitely ruined part of the movie for me because I was planning on seeing it. So… thanks. No disrespect intended, but a major character death shouldn’t be included in a review.

    • She did put SPOILER WARNING before the actual comment.

      • twistedburton,

        Yup, big spoiler warning – you could have skipped over that.


        Sandy is a “he.” :-P


  19. I will watch just about anything but I refuse to support this movie because Chris Brown is in it. It hasn’t even been that long since he punched out his girl in the face, bit her, choked her and told her he would kill her.

    • Really?
      Like you know anything about anyones personal life in any of these movies!
      You should judge a movie if you are going to see it based upon the story and not on the actors personal life.
      And for someone who wouldnt see the movie due to the actor why are you even commenting on this movie?

      • This movie could have been a bit better but it definetly was good watching

    • That’s pretty much any “celebrity”, Ricky. Anyone else and they’d be in jail for a LONG time. Ridiculous.

  20. Andy S

    Very true. Unbelievable really……..

  21. Movie was okay, it was decent. Your review made it seem it was terrible it wasn’t. The chasing was the highlight of the film. Over all it was good to what it is.

  22. Neither one of those rappers can act. I wonder who ti snitched on to get such a light sentance. Hand guns carry a year mando and automatics carry up to life. What a snitch. I refuse to pay for a movie with a rapper in it.

    • why?

  23. Based on the Photoshop cut and paste poster, I don’t think I want to see this on Showtime. Save Idris Elba, Micheal Ealy and Jay Hernandez–they’re too good for this!!

  24. I’m glad I take what movie critics say with a huge grain of salt. If a movie interests me, I see it and I’m glad I saw this one. It’s not going to win any oscars but it was thoroughly entertaining. I do agree about some of the filming techniques used. The foot chase with Brown was too up close to watch without your eyes hurting. Other than that it was fun ride.

    • Agreed. I really enjoyed it.

  25. Any so-called movie reviewer/critic who cannot review a movie without revealing a major plot point like this reviewer just did about Chris Brown’s character, is someone so lacking in judgment and common sense that I cannot take their opinion on anything seriously. Thanks for ruining the movie for me. You can be sure I’ll see it, because if someone of your bad judgment thinks it’s bad, it must be good.

    • Etrigan,

      Do you understand the definition of the phrase “SPOILER AHEAD”?


    • Sandy’s review didn’t ruin the movie, the movie ruined the movie.

    • i agree. i wouldnt see it more than once but it was a typical action movie. of course the script was gonna be lame. overall pretty entertaining