is a thriller built around a phony terrorist conspiracy, but its European
openings were complicated twice by very real terrorist attacks. First, the film
previously known as Bastille Day was
slated for a UK opening in February, but it was pushed back immediately following
the November 2015 terror attacks. Later, it logically opened in time for the titular
French holiday, but was yanked from theaters less than a week later, because of
the Nice terror truck attack. Its timing was terrible, but the on-screen action
and intrigue are not bad. As usual, Idris Elba takes care of business in James
Watkins’ The Take (trailer here), which opens
tomorrow in New York.
agent Sean Briar is not afraid to cowboy-up or go rogue. He would probably be
out on his ear, if the Paris station chief had not interceded on his behalf. He
arrives just in time to do some major damage control when lowlife American
expat Michael Mason is caught on CCTV leaving a bomb in Pigalle. Actually, he
is just a thief, who didn’t know what he was discarding. He swiped the bag in
question from Zoe Naville, the social justice warrior mule, who was supposed to
leave it at a Le Pen-esque political party headquarters, before she got cold
feet—and robbed. She in turn received the bomb from her activist boyfriend, but
he is really a phony planted by a corrupt team of French SWAT commandos.
plan was to frame various Islamist groups for a terror conspiracy while
inciting outrage at their treatment amongst the easily agitated, plunging Paris
into chaos hours before the Bastille Day parade. Amid the resulting confusion,
they could pull off their planned heist at their leisure. Of course, they did
not plan on Briar’s interference.
The Take is not Luther, but it certainly shows why so
many have latched onto Idris Elba as a potential James Bond. He is all kinds of
hardnosed steeliness, without even trying very hard. It is easy to just sit
back and enjoy him doing his thing. We can also readily understand why the
distributor wanted to jettison the Bastille
Day title and hopefully the bad karma that dogged it. Yet, you almost have
to wonder if they are trying to confuse fans of the enjoyably trashy hit Takers.
Kelly Reilly and José Garcia add some nice flair and energy as Briar’s boss
Karen Dacre and her French counterpart, Victor Gamieux. Charlotte Le Bon is
pretty and almost supernaturally wide-eyed as gullible Naville. However,
Richard Madden just becomes tiresome as the whiny Mason.
The Take is the rare sort
of film that became less politically correct than intended, due the passage of
time and unfortunate events beyond Watkins’ control. The way a few hashtags
whip up mob frenzy is uncomfortably believable and highly relevant to the
current state of the world. Be that as it may, The Take is all about Elba throwing it down, which he does.
Recommended for fans of the actor and polyglot Euro action thrillers, The Take opens tomorrow (11/18) in New
York, at the AMC Empire.
Labels: Charlotte Le Bon, Idris Elba, Terrorism in film