Movies: Takers * *
(12A, general release)
Timing is everything, and while Takers was released over a month ago in the US, it has the great misfortune to arrive in Ireland only a week after Ben Affleck's The Town. Had a few shortcomings been overcome, Takers might have been a competent if unremarkable addition to the heist genre, but Affleck's film ranks as one of the finest heist movies of them all, and their proximity in the cinemas does this no favours at all.
Directed and co-written by John Lussenhop, Takers starts off pretty briskly and has aspirations towards being cool. Idris Elba, Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen are among the members of an ultra-organised crime gang who pull a big heist once a year and then lay low living high on the proceeds. Their latest job, a lightning raid on a downtown Los Angeles bank, went swimmingly, but a police detective called Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) becomes obsessed with tracking them down.
Meanwhile, a former member of the gang has just emerged from a five-year stretch and wants them to join him in an armoured car heist that could earn them $30m. The boys don't trust him, but against their better judgement they decide to go for it. But Welles is edging ever closer to figuring out who they are.
The plot of Takers is nothing special and hopelessly derivative. And by setting up his crew as a group of ultra-slick villains, Lussenhop is obliged to supply them with dialogue snappy enough to make them believable. At this he fails fairly abjectly, though he isn't helped by the stiff acting of Hayden. In the end you don't believe a word of it, but Lussenhop handles his action sequences pretty well, and the excellence of Dillon and Elba makes it all more than bearable.