The Take Blu-ray Review


James Watkins, who made an impressive debut years ago with the disturbingly effective Eden Lake, follows up on his success with Woman in Black with this by-the-numbers thriller.

Fortunately, it’s a well-executed one.

Out on Blu-Ray this month, The Take is a mismatched buddy action flick starring Richard Madden from Game of Thrones and Idris Elba from, well, everything.

Elba plays Sean Briar, a CIA Agent who plays by his own rules. We know this because he actually says so in an early scene. It’s that kind of movie.

Madden plays Michael Mason, an American pickpocket and low-stakes conman living in Paris.

One night, Mason sees easy pickings and swipes a bag from the street. The bag is carrying a nasty surprise however, and Mason soon finds himself embroiled in a wider terrorist conspiracy. To the authorities, it looks like Mason is in on it and Briar is soon in hot pursuit.

As the story unfolds, the pair find that their goals ultimately align and they begrudgingly team up to stop a nefarious plot involving the French Interior Ministry. They both use their specialist skills; Mason’s expertise as a small-time thief, and Briar’s special ability to kick any and everyone’s arse.

Alongside the terrorism plot, the story also involves scenes of rioting and is sadly mirroring the very turmoil we are seeing sweeping across Central Europe now.

The film’s original release date of February 2016 was rescheduled due to the Paris attack in November 2015, and then shortly after release in France in July 2016, the film was pulled from cinemas due to the Nice attack that month.

The theme of terrorism and activism is treated on a pretty superficial level by the film, but the parallel real-life events give everything a chilling undertone.

In the lead role, Elba does the gruff action-hero thing well, and seems to regularly trot out these kind of action films between his higher-profile stuff. He knows what he’s doing by now.

Madden is good as the suave Mason, and manages to shake off the shadow of Robb Stark.

The problem is that the chemistry between both is quite limited. Which isn’t great when the premise of the partnership is convoluted to begin with.

Add to that the absence of a strong villain and a plot that gets more and more ludicrous as it goes on, and it’s hard to see the plus points.

This is where the action choreography kicks in and basically saves the movie. Some virtuoso action set pieces and snappy editing make the film worthwhile. Even on a more basic scale, the scene where Mason pickpockets a barman is a treat to watch.

Credibility will be stretched well beyond breaking-point, but if you have returned to the streets of Paris expecting some Taken-style action then you won’t be disappointed.

Conor Brennan

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Dates ‘n stuff

October 2016