The cops and robbers genre has been around for a long time—though in the early days it often involved a sheriff and gun-slinging outlaws. But movie figures who are sworn to protect and to serve are having a hard time of late. No longer are they the heroes wearing the white hats and restoring justice. It is the felons who get away with the money, the murders and most often the girl.
Following the formula for films like Oceans Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen, and The Italian Job, Takers
features a cast of men who feel no remorse over lining their pockets
with currency from other people’s savings accounts. (They do, however,
donate ten percent of their haul to charity—presumably as a way to give
back to the community after ripping off individuals who earn their
livelihood in a more socially acceptable manner.) Living in luxurious
homes, they use the piles of bills they have stashed away to imbibe in
the best liquor and cigars, drive expensive cars and outfit themselves
in top-of-the-line suits.
To put it simply, there is nothing shabby
about the everyday life of these thieves.
But greed can get to even the most charitable of crooks. The day
after they make off with bags of loot from a California bank, Gordon
(Idris Elba), John (Paul Walker), A.J. (Hayden Christensen) and
brothers Jesse (Chris Brown) and Jake (Michael Ealy) are unexpectedly
visited by an old team member who had his sentence shortened for good
behavior. While Ghost (Tip ‘T.I.’ Harris) may have been the model
inmate, he is far from reformed. With next week’s armored car route in
his hands, he proposes a new heist with a $20 million payoff.
Compared to these high living criminals, LAPD officers Jake Wells
(Matt Dillon) and his partner Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez) are a sorry
sight. Eddie lives in the suburbs with his wife (Zulay Henao) and their
young son (Harrison Miller) who is facing serious medical issues. Jake
is a rumpled, short-tempered workaholic devoted to justice. He gets a
bad rap when he follows up on a lead in the robbery on the day he is
supposed to be spending quality time with his daughter (Isa Briones).
Yet in reality the police do little more in this storyline than keep
George and his gang from publically flaunting the source of their
funds. The real conflict comes when a group of badder rogues
attempt to steal the hot money from the bank robbers. The result is
endless exchanges of gunfire. (For apparent artistic purposes, the
director accompanies one lengthy hotel room shootout scene with strains
of violin music and millions of feathers from perforated pillows
drifting gently through the air.) The only thing that outnumbers the
barrage of bullets is the constant use of scatological slang and
profanities that are teamed up with frequent portrayals of smoking and
alcohol use. A brief, shadowed depiction of male buttock nudity is also
shown when a man enters a pool where two women wait for him.
Although there is some collateral damage along the way, these
criminals not only glamorize robbery, murder and the destruction of
public property but they do it with a sense of entitlement—as if all
that cash was due them. But then what can you expect from a group of
guys who admittedly revere Genghis Khan as their historic hero.