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Title: The Take

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :halfstar:

HTS Overall Score:78

Sometimes films can seem to be almost clairvoyant in their ability to predict reality. Back in July of 2016 “Bastille Day” (now renamed “The Take” for American audiences) opened up in France. Not ONE day later the horrific Nice France terrorist attack rocked the world to its core. A day before Bastille Day (the French national holiday). Irony of all Ironies, “The Take” is about a terrorist attack the day before Bastille Day as well, albeit a slightly different reason and execution of the events. It wasn’t three days later before the film was pulled from theaters and has been languishing in the background until Universal decided to release the film on home video almost 8 months later. It was really a case of unlucky timing on the film’s part, as it is a solid heist/terrorist film that carries a good leading actor and some better than average plot twists to keep you guessing. Unfortunately, the real world imitated art so thoroughly that it was not exactly the proper time to be putting out a film about bombs going off right at the time France suffers its worst terrorist attack in modern history.

It's the day before Bastille Day and a young American pick pocket in Paris named Michael (Richard Madden) is about to have the unlucky experience of stealing a purse from someone who just so happens to be carrying a bomb. Grabbing the valuables and ditching the bag, Michael doesn’t realize that there is a bomb in the bag until the blast goes off. Now surveillance cameras have him on film and soon his face is plastered all over the news and the French Police are looking for him. However, the French are not the only people who are interested in an American in Paris (this time not because he’s a werewolf. I’ll give you a cookie if you can get that reference). The CIA have a small branch in Paris and brusque agent Sean Briar is sent out to retrieve the American Michael and find out what he knows. Picking up the pick pocket is easy enough, but it soon becomes obvious to Agent Briar that Michael wasn’t the real bomber. Now it’s up to him and Michael to track down the mysterious girl and find out what she knows.

Again, tracking down a civilian like that isn’t hard, but the plot gets even stickier when it becomes obvious that these bombers are NOT your average upset terrorist. Every lead that seems to lead to the logical conclusion is muddled and suspicious, and the people trying to clean up their trail are WAAAAAAAAAAY too professional to be your average thug. Suspicious and never one to give up, Agent Briar uncovers the true secret. That the French Government has some dead rot in their ranks and are trying to pull off one of the biggest heists in French history under the guise of a terrorist attack.

“The Take” is disturbingly similar in terms of scope and result as the horrific Nice attack that claimed so many French lives, but in reality, it’s just a case of poor timing. Strip away the coincidence of a terrorist attack happening a day after the release of a movie ABOUT a terrorist attack and you have a surprisingly decent spy thriller. Idris Elba has always been a favorite of mine, and he plays quite well at the brooding and hulking CIA agent who has no respect for bovine excrement in his job (and also a hulking beast of a man. His 6 foot 3 inch frame towers above the French actors like he’s The Rock in a midget contest). The nuts and bolts of the movie are taken straight off the shelf and assembled without any custom fitting (seriously, we have a scam artist, the hulking CIA agent, bad guys who are using something as a cover for an even more sinister motive, and the pretty girl who helps out at the last moment), but the assembled piece is more than serviceable for a good watch. I wouldn’t put it on par with the likes of the original “Bourne” Movies (the latest one notwithstanding), but it’s competently directed and much better than most of the other direct to video fluff that comes out in the same ilk.

Despite being solidly put together and having good pacing with impressive leads, “The Take” is nothing more than a solid rental in the spy thriller category. Michael and Zoe are your typical civilians who are shoved into a “fish out of water” situation with the big tough spy who is more brusque than anything else. The criminals are your classic bad guys hiding in plain sight, and a few of the twists and turns tend to be fairly formulaic. It’s not a knock against the movie in an effort to make it out to be worse than it is, but rather stating that “The Take” does nothing to make itself seem special, or stand out from the sea of other competently done spy thrillers that saturate the market.


Rated R for violence, language and some nudity

Video :4.5stars:
“The Take” comes from a very obvious digital shoot using the extremely well respected Arri Alexa cameras, the resulting Blu-ray is nothing short of stunning. Universal has always had a good record with day and date digitally shot releases and “The Take” follows in those footsteps with a very clean and very crisp looking image. Colors lean towards the cooler, bluer end of the spectrum, but otherwise the digital shoot maintains a fairly neutral look. Fine details are impressive, with nuanced clothing and textural details popping off the screen at every turn, and contrast levels staying well within reasonable bounds. Black levels are deep and inky within the bowels of the French slum houses and the shadow detail is exemplary.

Audio :4.5stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track on board the Blu-ray is just as exemplary as the video encode is. SUPPOSEDLY this came with a theatrical Atmos mix (at least according to IMDB), but no object based track for the Blu-ray it seems. Still, that’s not something to be too upset about as the 5.1 mix is nothing short of fantastic. Dialog is strong and well anchored in the center channel, while the myriad of action sequences keep the surrounds and mains in constant use with bullets whistling by overhead and the rumble and roar of Paris traffic during a car chase. LFE is tight and punchy, adding more than enough low end support for the copious physical encounters as well as your typical “action” score in the foreground. The film is fairly dynamic in its design, so I’m actually curious how an Atmos track would have enhanced the experience, being how impressive the 5.1 mix as it is.

Extras :halfstar:

• Making "The Take"

Overall: :4stars:

“The Take” isn’t much more than filler material in the film world, but it’s entertaining enough filler material. It’s got a strong cast, and a solid direction, so it fills the role of a Friday night rental without aspiring to be anything greater than the sum of its parts. I’ll pretty much watch anything with Idris Elba in it, so I may be slightly biased, but “The Take” is good cheesy fun that really accomplishes everything it set out to accomplish. To basically make a decent thriller that fills time. Audio and video are both fantastic, but the extras are very anemic leaving this one in the solid “Rental” category.

Additional Information:

Starring: Idris Elba, Richard Madden, Charlotte Le Bon
Directed by: James Watkins
Written by: Andrew Baldwin, James Watkins
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Universal
Rated: R
Runtime: 92 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 7th, 2017

Buy The Take On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Recommended for a Rental

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