Why cast outstanding actors in a movie and then give some of the leading roles to people who cannot act and have no on-screen presence? Perhaps the answer is in the 'small print' as the credits reveal that music moguls T.I. and Chris Brown also worked behind the scenes as producers of this badly made heist flick. They should have been less interested in appearing in the film and more concerned about making one that was enjoyable to watch.
'Takers' opens with a bank robbery, skilfully executed by a bunch of characters whose circumstances, intentions and knowledge are deemed not to be worth delving into. The crew includes jazz piano player AJ (Christensen), the chivalrous Jake (Ealy) and his ex-convict brother Jesse (Brown), the proficient John (Walker) and the posse's front man Gordan (Elba). Just as the moneyed crooks are about to disappear, their old partner 'Ghost' (Tip 'T.I' Harris) gets out of jail and shows up with a new offer. Despite their rule of only completing a score on a yearly basis, the 'takers' grudgingly take on the challenge, with a mere five days to complete the difficult job.
Meanwhile, detective Jack Welles (Dillon) is leading the investigation to track down the gang. Of course, he is your stereotypical movie cop; a workaholic with a complicated personal life. However, there is one exception; surprisingly he isn't actually good at his job. Thus it is impossible to ever form a connection with Welles and his partner Eddie Hatcher (Hernandez) due to the movie's unexplained desire to make viewers root for the thieves.
The main problem with 'Takers' is that the characters are lacking in personality and emotional depth. While Idris Elba and Marianne Jean-Baptiste bring some credibility to an unnecessary subplot, T.I. and much of the cast are so dreadful and unmemorable that they make the film look like a cheap and unsuccessful knock-off of 'Ocean's Eleven'.
'Takers' works best during some of its action sequences, which are few and far between. An extended set piece of urban acrobatics with Brown is exhilarating and a high rise bank robbery scene is performed well, but every twist and turn is expected and, therefore, unmemorable. Luessenhop packs the film with jittery, incoherent shots that keep you questioning what is going on - loud, fast, sloppy and adding nothing to your involvement in the moment.
Those that are really in the mood to see a good heist movie should pass on 'Takers' and just watch rent 'Inside Man' from their local DVD store. The only things these takers make off with are your time and money.