The team of crooks in "Takers" are the ultimate in cool. They sit around talking finances, wear expensive suits and when they show up at the hippest restaurant in town they all walk in slow motion while the masses cheer them on.
It's as if director John Luessenhop decided to make an "Oceans Eleven" type film with a more diverse cast.
Had Luessenhop been able to maintain that design, he'd have had a killer film.
But a change in tone and direction midway through the film turns "Takers" into a cheesy thug drama.
The crooks as played by Paul Walker, Idris Elba, Michael Ealy and Chris Brown have the charm and charisma to be a 21st century version of the Rat Pack. That would make Hayden Christensen the Joey Bishop of the group -- in the mix just for comic relief.
Lussenhop has no problem with huge action scenes. There's a foot chase staged that's the most exciting since the Bond film "Casino Royale." Watching the scene will leave you breathless.
And although Matt Dillon's role as the detective who lives outside the rules plays out in familiar fashion, the character's blue collar approach is a nice contrast to the upscale criminals.
A failed second half of the script -- and a painfully bad performance by Tip "T.I." Harris -- counter all the good elements.
Screenwriters Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus, Luessenhop and Avery Duff lose confidence in the cool story and turn to a series of idiotic moments.
Characters suddenly make asinine decisions. You can't establish this group of crooks as so smart they haven't been caught for years and then have them stage the biggest robbery in their career with all the thought of a 3-year-old.
That leaves "Takers" -- a movie that starts great -- bogged down under the weight of its own misfortunes.