Takers

Matt Dillon must be getting tired of being in movies about armored car heists. At least this time he's on the other side, playing Jack Welles, the semi-renegade cop who knows some huge criminal plot is in the works, but he can't get anyone else to believe him.

Providing said criminal plot are the Takers, as leader-type G. calls them. He's Gordon Jennings (Idris Elba, The Losers, 28 Weeks Later), smoking really big cigars and living a life of leisure with no visible means of support. I always wonder how crooks do that, you know? This bunch has their own pet lawyer who handles their funds, but what does the average crook do to explain away the TV as big as his living room wall and the new Porsche in the driveway when his day job is low-level office paper-pusher? Maybe they still arrest some criminals solely for tax evasion.

G has a team that he works with, and they're largely interchangeable. This film has a little of the Ocean's syndrome -- lots of characters and too much fancy illegal maneuvering to develop any of those characters much. But there are brothers Jesse and Jake Attica -- yes, it is an ironic last name for a pair of crooks -- played by Chris Brown and Michael Ealy, respectively. Jake's girl (Zoe "blink and you'll miss her" Saldana, The Losers, Star Trek) used to be Ghost's girl. Ghost (T.I., aka Tip "T.I." Harris) is the member of the team who was shot during a job and ended up serving some time in prison. Now he's out, and he has a plan he wants to share with his old co-workers. Yes, it's just about that convincing. But as he says, money is money, and he never really claimed to be friends; and in this case the money is 25 to 30 million dollars. What I really don't get, though, is why they kept listening after he uttered the phrase "Russian mob". That would be the point at which I would say, "Whoops, sorry, can't help you with that. Maybe next time!"

But they're pros, and they think they can pull this off while keeping an eye on Ghost. They've got the route for the armored car in question, C-4, automatic weapons, and a plan. No one actually says, "What could possibly go wrong?" but it's implied several times. Second in command John (Paul Walker of The Fast and the Furious fame) is basically assigned the job of watching Ghost and shooting him if necessary. Then there's A.J. (Hayden Christensen, Jumper). Apparently someone figured out that at a glance, he looks a lot like Paul Walker, so A.J. has the quirk of always wearing a hat to help you tell them apart. He also plays the piano and has lots of tattoos, and that's about all the character development anyone gets, except for G. He has a drug-addicted sister, Naomi, played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste, who coincidentally played one of Sandra Bullock's fellow rehabbers in 28 Days.

Anyway, the plan is set in motion and everything looks good at first. Ghost is totally smarmy, but apparently he's just like that. He has a line that's already becoming an internet meme: "Come and sip from the cup of destruction." John identifies the quote as being from Genghis Khan, but it isn't really, since we don't know for sure anything that Genghis Khan ever said. It's really from a book by a Persian historian named Juvaini called The History of the World Conqueror, the earliest known account of the Great Khan's exploits. That specific line refers to the Khan's siege and destruction of the ancient city of Samarkand. Who would've guessed that a movie about bank robbers would give me the chance to talk about 13th century history? That's worth the price of admission right there as far as I'm concerned.

Aside from that, the whole film is basically a mix of the various Ocean's movies, The Italian Job -- one of the characters even says as much -- and, yes, even a touch of Armored. Jay Hernandez has a good part as Jack's partner, Eddie Hatcher, and really, all the actors do about as well as can be expected with what they have to work with. Yes, even Hayden, I guess. I kept losing track of him, actually.

There's lots of shooting, a little gadgetry, a good dose of betrayal, and also a surprisingly long chase scene where it looks as if the quarry is a practitioner of parkour. Seriously, as soon as he realizes he's being chased, he does his level best to go in an absolutely straight line away from the chasers, whether that line holds crowds of people, taxis, railings, stairs, or even a moving bus. Parkour may be the most efficient way to get from A to B, but I'm not sure it's the best way to avoid one's pursuers.

I would've given it two and three-quarters out of five, except for the ending. The movie sort of just... stops. I realize that's trendy and all -- it's for added realism -- but this time it wasn't that I was anxious to know the exact fate of any of the characters. I don't know, it just ended and I felt annoyed, and not in that "But I want to know what happens!" sort of way. So two and a half it is. Maybe The Last Exorcism was the better movie, quality-wise -- and box-office-wise -- but hey, I slept last night.

Image: 
The criminal cast of Takers poses for a nice group mug shot.

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Hey, My email is

Hey, My email is sb_daftpunk@hotmail.com, ide really like to know more about this "Sip from the cup of destruction" quote, i would greatly appreciate u givin me an email when you have a minute

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