A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that violence permeates this action-oriented heist movie, which co-stars headline-grabbing musician Chris Brown. Many characters die without consequence, and violence seems to be a way out -- or an ending -- for most of the characters. Language is strong, with many uses of "s--t," "goddamn," and "bitch." Many characters smoke cigars or drink champagne or fine scotch as status symbols, and a supporting character has a drug problem (though viewers never see her take drugs). In one scene, one of the robbers wades naked into a pool where two pretty girls are waiting for him, but nothing sensitive is shown. Don't look for positive messages or role models here; ultimately, this is a movie about a bunch of criminals doing what they do best.
What's the story?
Five crafty robbers -- Gordon (Idris Elba), Jake (Michael Ealy), Jesse (Chris Brown), A.J. (Hayden Christensen), and John (Paul Walker) -- pull off an intricate heist that leaves the cops baffled. After the job, the rich robbers are about to disappear when their old partner, "Ghost" (rapper Tip "T.I." Harris), gets out of jail and shows up with a new offer. He has the route to an armored car delivery, and they'll have only five days to pull off this difficult job. (Worse, Jake has just proposed to Ghost's old girlfriend, Rachel, who's played by Zoe Saldana.)The robbers agree to take on the challenge, but LAPD detectives Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) and Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez) are hot on their trail. Oddly, the clues lead them to the Russian mafia. Just how dangerous is this armored car job? And who will survive?
Is it any good?
TAKERS' disparate cast tries hard to bring some personality to the movie, but their characters seem short-changed by the bad writing. T.I. -- who also co-produced -- brings a kind of sinister, snaky quality to his ex-con, but poor Saldana fares the worst of all, showing none of the toughness she's exhibited in earlier movies. She's now just a "waiting, worrying" girlfriend.
Four credited writers and rookie director John Luessenhop can't make it credible that these five careful, meticulous planners would take on the armored car job based on information from someone they don't trust. From there, the movie falls to pieces in the midst of well-staged but poorly-shot (and ultimately ridiculous) action sequences; it's all rather rushed and joyless. The movie culminates in an increasing rain of violence, and since none of the characters has any redeeming values, it almost doesn't matter who's left standing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. Was it exciting or gruesome? How did you feel about how many of the characters met their ends?
What are the consequences of the violence in this movie? Do they seem realistic?
Are the main characters sympathetic? Should they be? Does the movie glamorize the life of the bank robber?
One of the cops takes a bribe. Does this make him a bad guy? As bad as the bank robbers?
- In theaters: August 27, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: January 18, 2011
- Cast: Idris Elba, Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, Tip T.I. Harris
- Director: John Luessenhop
- Studio: Screen Gems
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and action, a sexual situation/partial nudity and some language
For kids who love action and thrills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.