A veteran crew of hardened thieves, led by Gordon (Idris Elba) and John (Paul Walker), runs into some turmoil when Ghost (T.I.), a former member of the group, gets out of prison and offers up a dangerous job. Against their better judgement, the group decides they owe it to their newly free comrade to pull the heist, all the while unsure of whether or not they can trust the intel. With a detective (Matt Dillon) hot on their tails and a clean lifestyle calling to some of the crew, the thieves put everything on the line for a score that will surely make or break them.
Heist movies call to me, even ones I know will be awful. There's something about a big score playing out on screen that gets my attention every time. I'm like a drug addict, really, constantly chasing the next high, with the high being "Heat" or "Italian Job." So even as I mocked the trailer for "Takers" last Fall, I knew I'd eventually give in and check it out. And now I hate myself for giving into the urge.
"Takers" is, quite simply, a mess of a movie. Terrible acting, an overly convoluted story, and a final "twist" you can see from the opening credits, "Takers" has them all. The biggest issue, however, is a severe identity crisis. "Takers" can't decide whether it wants to be "Ocean's 11", "Heat", or "Dead Presidents." The tone of the film jumps back and forth between smooth and stylish, harsh and gritty, and over-the-top ridiculousness. The filmmakers clearly couldn't decide what their target audience would be and decided to shoot for them all, only they failed to hit on ANY level. Elba, a fine actor, is seriously underused while Zoe Saldana's role in the film is completely pointless. Whatever Saldana was paid, it was stolen money because she's essentially an extra given a line here or there. And when you then consider how much time was given to Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen, both horrendous actors, you have to ask yourself what in the name of John Frankenheimer was director John Lussenhop doing?! Walker and Christensen are completely overshadowed in the "Worst Actor EVER" conversation, though, compared to rapper T.I. Never, and I mean, NEVER, have I witnessed a more miserable performance. I feel like I should start a petition to ban T.I. from appearing on screen again in the future. It is offensive how bad he is.
"Takers" also steals liberally from better heist movies and while I usually give a free pass in the "That's Already Been Done in This Other Movie" department, it's so blatant here that the characters actually reference the knock-off they are about to perform. New lows all around. The first 20-30 minutes of "Takers" is decent and some of the (early) action is entertaining but that is all that keeps this movie from completely deteriorating into near-spoof territory.