By Jennifer Green,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
French action film has graphic violence, drugs, sex.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Racism festers in some corners of the world, even among the powerful. Organizations may sometimes make cynical use of the diversity among their ranks. Friendships are important in a man's life and should be prioritized over differences or arguments.
Positive Role Models
Ousmane faces regular slights, insults, or differential treatment due to the color of his skin. He stands up for himself. Many characters hold subtle or outright racist beliefs and treat others with disrespect or even hatred.
Set in France and shot in French. Some mutual teasing between Parisians and people from the provinces. One of two main characters, a pair of Parisian policemen, is Black. Ministry of the Interior wants to make him the face of the police as a tactic to recruit more people of color and improve their own image. The pair come up against a conspiracy in a provincial town that involves people in positions of power espousing anti-immigrant and racist views. Racist jokes, slurs, and stereotypes. References to Nazis and fascists. The racism is confronted and discussed, and the racists ultimately lose.
Inclusion information: Black actors
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Violence & Scariness
Two hours of action, like foot and car chases, deadly crashes, and explosions, and violence ranging from bloody fistfights to arrests, shootings, electrocutions, severed body parts, and deaths. A body cut in half is seen up close in a morgue. Another death scene involves a decapitation. Police uncover a plan to kill dozens of innocent civilians; a bomb goes off as part of that plan.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, sex scenes with no private parts shown, nudity (a dead man's penis, male and female bare bottoms, and a woman's breasts), a woman at a strip club wearing nipple tassels asks a man to smear cream on her back; he tries to also do her bottom. A young and half-dressed woman runs out of an apartment when a young man's father comes home. A man teases another man about a latent homosexual attraction when they must share a bed (and one man likes to sleep naked). Discussion or mention of consent, "a piece of ass," "getting laid," hand jobs, and screwing.
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Versions of "f--k," "s--t," and "damn," as well as "ass," "bastard," "d--k," "bitch," "hell," "piss," "screwed," "balls," "butt," "creep," "homo," "perv," and "psycho." Reviewed in the original French with English subtitles.
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Products & Purchases
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Uber, iPhone, car brands like Peugeot, Ford, and Kia.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An assassinated character was dealing a variety of heavy drugs including "oxy" and meth concocted in a lab behind his mother's house. Police inspect the testicles of a dead body for track marks. Someone is sharing a drug used by Nazis to keep people from feeling pain. Mention of hash. Characters drink alcohol with meals.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the French action film The Takedown (Loin du périph), a sequel to 2012's On the Other Side of the Tracks, finds the same police duo on a case involving a drug trafficking and White supremacist movement in a provincial town. The film has language, violence, sexual content, racist behavior, jokes, and commentary. Banter between the two main characters, who rediscover a valuable friendship, includes some sex talk and mutual taunting about race and privilege. The Black partner suffers racist jabs from a variety of other people; the White partner claims he has it harder because he fulfills no quotas and suggests his friend is being overly sensitive -- until they confront a murderous racist plot. The nonstop action film includes foot and car chases, deadly car crashes, explosions, bloody fistfights, shootings, electrocutions, and severed body parts shown in graphic detail. The police pair drink alcohol at meals and investigate the lab of an assassinated drug dealer. An assassinated character was dealing a variety of heavy drugs including "oxy" and meth concocted in a lab behind his mother's house. Police inspect the testicles of a dead body for track marks. Someone is sharing a drug used by Nazis to keep people from feeling pain. There's mention of hash. Sexual content includes kissing, sex scenes with no private parts shown, partial nudity (a dead man's penis, male and female bare bottoms, a woman's breasts, people partially undressed), and mention of consent, "a piece of ass," "getting laid," hand jobs, and screwing. Language in the English subtitles includes versions of "f--k," "s--t," and "damn," as well as "ass," "bastard," "d--k," "bitch," "hell," "piss," "screwed," "balls," "butt," "creep," "homo," "perv," and "psycho."
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What's the Story?
Unsuccessful cop François Monge (Laurent Lafitte) stumbles across a dead body at a Paris train station at the start of THE TAKEDOWN. He wants in on the investigation, especially once it's sent up the food chain to the Criminal Division, where his old buddy and former partner Ousmane Diakité (Omar Sy) works. The two travel to the provinces to investigate the death, unexpectedly getting wrapped into a web of drug traffickers and White supremacists that appears to go all the way up to the local police captain and mayor.
Is It Any Good?
Despite some shortcomings in the story and an overly long running time, this French action movie provides entertainment, excitement, and two likable main characters from a 2012 prequel. The Takedown rightly banks on the congeniality and charisma of Sy and Lafitte, who have natural on-screen chemistry. Its dual setting is equally attractive, moving between Paris (including some striking overhead shots) and a provincial town at the base of the magnificent Alps. The action moves very fast and tries to stuff a bit too much into its two hours, leaving some plot points concerning the conspiracy incomplete. Even fans of subtitles might want to watch this movie dubbed to catch everything said and seen.
The film can feel like a flashback to blockbuster '90s-era action flicks, particularly in its masculine protagonist duo of disobedient but crime-busting cops with witty, rapid-fire repartee. The pointed ribbing between the men might not sit well with all audiences. But the political intrigue at the story's heart feels ripped from headlines, and any exploration of nationalism and racism in contemporary global settings should hold interest today, particularly shrouded in a crowd-pleasing package like this one.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about parallels between The Takedown and contemporary politics in France. What feels pulled from real life and what might be exaggerated? Where could you go for more information?
How does Monge underplay the sting or seriousness of the many racist barbs Ousmane receives? Does his dismissiveness contribute to the problem? How so?
How did the Parisians poke fun at the provincial folks and vice versa?
What camera angles or filming and editing choices most caught your attention in the action scenes of this movie?
- On DVD or streaming: May 6, 2022
- Cast: Omar Sy, Laurent Lafitte, Izia Higelin
- Director: Stephane Kazandjian
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 119 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
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