Takers

August 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Tip “T.I.” Harris
Directed by: John Luessenhop (“Lockdown”)
Written by: John Luessenhop (debut), Gabriel Casseus (debut), Avery Duff (debut), Peter Allen (“Klash”),

There are only so many things you can do with a screenplay as unoriginal as “Takers.” You can either compare it to better heist movies that have come before it or you can save your breath and take it for what it is: a generic, one-dimensional collection of cocky, GQ-fashionable stars running around with nothing meaningful to say or do.

In “Takers,” a group of professional thieves (Idris Elba, Paul Walker, Michael Ealy, Hayden Christensen, and Chris Brown) team up with Ghost (Tip “T.I.” Harris), a former member of their crew who was recently released from prison after being the only one to get arrested during the boys’ last run together six years prior.

Now out of prison, Ghost wants to steal $30 million from an armored truck and feel his old friends owe it to him to join up for another heist. Although some of the men don’t trust Ghost, their leader Gordon Jennings (Elba) accepts the proposal since Ghost never took a plea bargain and ratted any of them out when he was in the joint.

On the other side of the law are LAPD’s finest, officers Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) and Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez) who are hot on the trail of the “takers,” but have problems of their own to deal with as well. Like the criminals they’re after, neither of the boys in blue have much personality aside from a typical law-enforcement temperament.

Besides a few well-shot action sequences (this doesn’t include a pretentious shoot-out scene played over symphony music), “Takers” is not engaging unless you’re entertained by big-budget pissing contests. The testosterone and fashion might be at an all time high, but when you’ve seen one slow-motion strut in an Armani suit you’ve basically seen them all.

Jumper

February 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Reviews

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Jaime Bell, Rachel Bilson
Directed by: Doug Liman (“Mr. and Mrs. Smith”)
Written by: David S. Goyer (“Blade”), Jim Uhls (“Fight Club”), Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: The Last Stand”)

Imagine not having to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, being able to wake up five minutes before an important meeting on the other side of town and getting there on time, or traveling anywhere in the world without ever buying a plane ticket. With the power of teleportation, you could do all of that and more. That’s exactly what David Rice (Christensen) does in the new slick-looking but prosaic action flick “Jumper.”

During a near-death experience, David’s life is spared when he somehow teleports away from danger and to another location. With his new-found talent to travel beyond space and time – and because he is unhappy at home with his verbally abusive father – he decides he can survive on his own by “borrowing” a few bucks from the bank and getting his own place. Hey, if you could move in and out of anywhere without opening a door, wouldn’t you visit a vault?

Flash-forward eight years and David has perfected his skill to teleport across the world. From having lunch on top of the Sphinx in Egypt to surfing the biggest waves in Fiji, David can do anything he wants with the power that has been granted to him. His trouble-free life, however, is interrupted when he finds out he is being hunted by a man whose soul purpose in life is to kill “Jumpers” like himself.

Roland (Jackson), who has been searching for David ever since he heard about his first bank robbery, is part of a unit of hunters known as Paladins. Unbeknownst to David, Jumper and Paladins are at war with each other and have been for thousands of years. Call it jealously or call it their mission, Paladins hate Jumpers because they feel no one should have the gift Jumpers do except God.

Now on the run, David returns home and visits his childhood crush (Bilson), who he strikes up a relationship with again by wooing her with weekend trips to Rome. The script is at its weakest here as David is never questioned about where he has been for the last eight years. Everyone thought he was dead, but who cares now? When you have an endless supply of money and can charm a girl by flying her out to the most extravagant cities, you can get around just about anything.

Excessive on the special effects but sputtering tremendously on the storyline, “Jumper” is illogical and a poor attempt at science fiction. Where the movie could have found its appeal was through David’s actual leaps through wormholes and dimensions. Instead, it becomes a drawn-out chase scene with far too many plot holes and flimsy characters.