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Monday, December 12, 2016

The Take 2016 * * * Stars

The TakeDirector: James Watkins
Year: 2016
Rated R
Rating: * * * Stars
Cast: Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Charlotte Le Bon

Intricate, complicated, and abidingly violent, The Take (my latest review) is akin to the best Jason Bourne movie you never saw. I didn't mind that its ending felt like all things direct-to-video. I also didn't mind that two of its villains (a bad cop and the Paris head of Homeland Security) looked enough alike to make the proceedings a little distracting. No I dug "Take" and you might too. It's got a new breed of action hero in Idris Elba. He's smoldering, a total badass, and he sends this thrumming action thriller into veritable orbit. Butt kicker Jason Statham would be proud. Paul Greengrass would be content and totally enamored. Bruce Willis would trade in all his Die Hard talons just to get back in this game.

Anyway, The Take whose original title is Bastille Day (a reference to France's version of Independence Day in the U.S.), is about the unlikely partnership between an insubordinate CIA agent (Sean Briar played by Elba) and a runaway thief (Michael Mason played by Richard Madden). They join forces to eliminate a terrorist conspiracy in the City of Lights. Idris Elba is intimidating and confident, with a devil-may-care attitude as the seething Briar. Madden looks like a cross between Hugh Jackman and Justin Timberlake with an acting voice similar to Jackman's overwrought American accent. Their characters have good chemistry together even if it is at times, a little corny.

Image result for the take idris elba movie scenes 2016
Not withstanding a low expectation module, "Take" was a pleasant surprise for me. It's a shame that most people never got a chance to see it (the film was pulled from theaters in Europe based on actual terrorist activity there). This 92-minute flick is faithfully helmed by writer/director James Watkins (The Woman in Black, Eden Lake). Watkins provides The Take with leveling technobabble, panning aerial shots, and plenty of malevolent fistfights. He uses Paris as a separate star locale, swiftly bringing you into a reconnaissance world of pickpockets, government corruption, and not so innocent bystanders (being framed for murderous acts). Oh and in "Take", he showcases the best on-foot movie chase since 2006's Casino Royale.

As per the plot points in The Take, well they mesh together splendidly like warm apple cider and donuts. The look by cinematographer Tim Maurice-Jones is standard by way of most spy thrillers but is equally modern and palatable. And there is less jittery camerawork in "Take" than in the Bourne movies. In truth, that's okay by me. Bottom line: See The Take. As a rental, it's a decent "keepsake". Rating: 3 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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