“Takers” is one of those high-adrenaline joy rides that’s
both a good story and well-crafted visually.
This one works, and it will do well at the box office.
A group of well-dressed men are meeting on an upper floor in a
large urban office building. They’re
discussing foreign investments, offshore bank accounts, and the subtle
movements in the world currency market.
But everything is not as it appears.
This is the same group of old friends who just robbed a bank.
The execution was elaborately planned, so that they were in and out
within a minute. They were
well-armed, but had enough self-restraint not to shoot anyone
indiscriminately. They merely
sprayed the ceiling for shock effect, and to insure quick compliance among
the startled customers. They
possessed enough technology, and sufficiently curbed their greed, to
identify the marked bills, and discard them.
And they engineered their getaway with a daring ambush of a news
helicopter, landing on the roof to cover the breaking story of the bank
robbery on the first floor. And,
of course, they knew enough to wear masks in the elevator, which always
has cameras. Most
importantly, they knew how to use C-4 explosives with great precision, to
blow apart the vault door quickly without hurting anyone.
It was truly a masterful job.
And it wasn’t their first, either.
Detective Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) is both impressed and flummoxed
by these sophisticated, coordinated bank robbers.
These guys were impressive in their preparation and execution,
which, the way Welles sees it, will only make taking them down that much
sweeter. He doesn’t have
much to go on. Scanning the
surveillance tapes, looking for clues.
Tailing “persons of interest” on his day off.
Welles doesn’t have a home life anymore, since he’s recently
estranged from his wife. He
has a young daughter, but he’s distracted even around her.
This case bugs him. And
in the meantime, he’s being hounded by Internal Affairs, presumably over
some overenthusiastic interrogation of a suspect, which produced the
desired information, but he still has to answer for his measured
There is honor among our Upscale Gang of Thieves:
they split everything equally, and they are all ready to hurry off
to their separate, high-end consumptive lives, when they receive an
unexpected, and rather unwelcome, visitor.
It seems they had a rogue colleague, several years back, who wound
up being shot in the course of a previous heist, and was subsequently
captured and imprisoned. Now
he’s out on parole, and wants his cut of that operation.
He’s developed a kind of malicious swagger in prison, and the
genteel-acting group now feels uncomfortable around him, particularly in
his insinuations of their abandonment, and his insistence on his
continuing loyalty to them, even when he could have given them up, but
didn’t. They promise to
accommodate him. He, in turn,
offers them the prospect of a quick, easy heist, of an armored car,
because a fellow inmate, a Russian, was able to acquire the precise route,
but only for the following Tuesday. The
rest of the group is not comfortable with this idea:
they like to do their own target selection, and their own careful
planning. They don’t want
to be dependent on the correct information of people they don’t know.
It turns out their hesitancy was well-founded, the Russian has Mob
connections, and they don’t play well with others, either.
Predictably, the hurry-up heist is an off-the-rails disaster.
As everyone scrambles to find some order amid the chaos, the viewer
just hangs on for the high-energy ride.
Expect some plot surprises. Know
that there will be personal violence.
But there is sufficient reserve in the portrayal of that violence,
as well as in the street language and relational interaction, to warrant a
PG-13 rating instead of an R, which will also broaden the potential
“Takers,” as cross-cultural urban legend, is that rare medium
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace