Takers, the new crime thriller from co-writer/director John Luessenhop (Lockdown with master thespian Master P), shares narrative DNA with Heat in that it focuses on a high-end heist crew. But these guys were conceived for a layout in GQ with slim pretty boys (Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen), an R&B lover boy (Chris Brown), a rap gangsta (TI) and one real smooth criminal (Idris Elba).
Elba made a name for himself on the HBO series The Wire as Stringer Bell but will likely be remembered as the new Alex Cross, if the reboot of author James Patterson’s detective series hits the bulls eye.
He proves to be the real deal here, taking the clichés and fashioning a character out of the pieces while setting the standard for suave whip appeal that these young cats just can’t match.
If only the producers had dumped the other guys or at least had them do more than strike pretty poses as a means of defining their characters. Quentin Tarantino reminded us in Pulp Fiction that just because you are a character doesn’t mean you have character. That’s advice the creative team here should have paid attention to because, given a little more time, Takers could have been an epic urban contender (a la Heat, Scarface or True Romance) rather than just another inferior exercise in genre stylings. Grade: D