Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Not "Heat", But Hot Enough
[Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, T.I., Paul Walker]

image from theblackboxoffice.com

RANT: Whispers and baby's cries filled the auditorium as I watched "Takers". I still will never understand the allure of parents bringing their 1 or 2 year old to a movie. For one, the child doesn't need that kind of disruption in their tiny ears. And two, the movie theater is not a baby sitter. After several minutes of the baby crying, the parents finally took the child out of the auditorium, never to return. I know baby sitters are scarce and pricey, but there must be a better way. Maybe they should build sound proof enclosures for families with small children (like in some churches) so everyone can enjoy the experience.

SYNOPSIS: An expert crew of thieves plan and rob banks for a living, leaving a couple years between scores. When a former member is released from prison with a multi-million dollar heist plan thats too good to pass up, the crew change their methods in order to carry out the score in five days.

An ensemble cast is put together for this heist-revenge flick. It boasts Chris Brown (Jesse), Hayden Christensen (A.J.), Michael Ealy (Jesse's brother Jake), Idris Elba (The mastermind Gordon), Tip 'T.I.' Harris (Ghost), Paul Walker (John) and Zoe Saldana (Rachel, Jake's girlfriend). And that is just the bad guys. They are put against the skills of Matt Dillon (Jack) and Jay Hernandez (Eddie) from the police department.

Some reviews peg "Takers" as '"Heat" for a new generation'. I have to disagree. While both "Takers" and "Heat" share some plot points and seem to have some of the same dialogue, Michael Mann's "Heat" is epic is storytelling while John Luessenhop's "Takers" is perfect for the attention deficient disabled. That's not to say I wasn't pleasantly surprised with "Takers". It's just that some critics should watch the two movies on the same day for a more direct comparison (as I did).

Let's list some points that are the same... "Heat" has 4 super technical and proficient thieves while "Takers" has 5 (before Ghost comes back). Both Pacino and Dillon tell the forensics teams to run stuff through the database (fingerprints, aliases) even though they probably will not get any hits, exclaiming "Check it anyway". Members in both crews vowed that they "were never going back" to prison.

Now let's talk about the differences. Pacino has a huge team (with SWAT) to take a run at the criminals. Dillon has only his partner and is working against the department, Internal Affairs, and a seemingly preposterous notion of who the criminals are. "Heat" was almost 3 hours of angst, both for Pacino's marriage, Deniro's solitude and Kilmer's addictions. "Takers" has Dillon's marriage on the rocks as well, but we never see a wife. "Takers" mastermind Gordon has a addict sister, but it serves to propel the story, not add to the depth.

Taken on its own, "Takers" is a good end of Summer film. 'T.I.' serves as a recent parolee who wants back in the crew for a armored car heist that will net all partners a couple million. He does not seem concerned that there was no contact with his crew while in prison, or that his former girlfriend Rachel is now with Jake. Even the Russians do not seem to be a problem. There is a good story and great fire fights and chases. Jesse does amazing stuff as he is pursued by Jack and Eddie. And the climax at the end is almost worthy of a Tarantino film. There is even a hint of Butch and Sundance in there for good measure. Paul Walker and Idris Elba are cool and collected, Hayden Christensen is strong and slick, 'T.I.' is driven and devious. Dillon is in his element with a character similar to what he brought to bear in "Crash" and "Armored".

If you like action, a little revenge, a couple of heists (although the second score is a rip-off of "The Italian Job" as Ghost mentions) and some popcorn, give this film a go.

Worth: Matinee and DVD

I am also trying out a new rating system shown below based on reader reaction to my somewhat complex monetary rating scale. I will give both ratings and see what kind of reaction I muster. A movie can receive up to 5 popcorn buckets. Why popcorn buckets? Because I am a slave to the thousand + calorie delight! Enjoy!

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