Felix De La Pena (Emmy® Award-winner John Leguizamo) is
an armored car driver struggling to make ends meet for his
wife Marina (Rosie Perez) and two kids in East LA's Boyle
Heights neighborhood. But their lives are thrown into chaos
after Felix miraculously survives a violent on-the-job hijacking
led by Adell Baldwin (Tyrese Gibson) a merciless criminal
driven by power and greed. Now facing a difficult recovery
and struggling with a nasty new temper Felix becomes obsessed
with tracking down his attackers before they frame him for
the crimes they committed.
I guess you wouldn't exactly classify John Leguizamo
as your classic leading man actor, and local audiences would
probably be hard pressed to name any one of his movies, despite
appearances in M Night Shyamalan's latest movie The Happening,
and in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! and Romeo+Juliet.
In The Take, John Leguizamo stars as Felix De La Pena, your
typical average joe living an average life, putting food on
the table for his family with his security guard job. His
day to day duties include driving the company armoured truck
to pick up cash from customers and absolutely nothing would
have prepared him for a heist quite unexpected, especially
when it has to do with betrayal from the inside. In Robocop
and Death Wish fashion, the lead perpetrator Adell (Tyrese
Gibson) thought that he had gotten rid of our protagonist
with a bullet to the head, but as Fate would have it, Felix
survives, though the crime scene got doctored to point the
finger at him.
So you might think that he'll go ballistic with some major
vigilante plot to take down one by one those who had made
his life a living hell? Not quite, and there's where The Take
becomes a little refreshing. It centers more on Felix's road
to recovery, of having to adjust with his mood swings, and
reliant on drugs to numb his physical pain, but not the emotional
one. In other words, it's more of a drama than high octane
action, that allows Leguizamo to showcase his acting chops.
Acting opposite him is Rosie Perez as his wife Marina, and
here's one spunky lady who in a scene I admire as she doesn't
get cowered by the cops.
While it's not your typical mainstream revenge movie per se,
action junkies would probably be marginally satisfied with
an extended chase sequence on foot, which you don't get a
chance to see much of these days, given the preference for
spectacular vehicular crashes. But it does seem to take a
leaf out of modern techniques in cinematography, whether you
like it or not, the shaky cam is here to stay in the films,
as are the colours which are strained to a minimum, just to
accentuate the gritty street life that the characters lead.
All in all, if you're a fan of Leguizamo, then this film would
be something you have to watch. Otherwise, it still makes
for an enjoyable movie for an effective story told given its
relatively low budget, compared to this year's slate of Hollywood
blockbusters. Nothing fancy, but it just works.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
There are a couple of special features included in
the DVD, though the Deleted Scenes, presented
in letterbox format with no available subtitles, run for a
total of slightly more than 3 minutes in total, and contains
material that doesn’t add value nor will be missed if
removed. There is a play all option, and I’d recommend
to use that, rather than to individually click on specific
scenes, one which runs as short as 15 seconds.
There’s also a standard look Behind the scenes
which is quite a standard
making-of fare. Containing a discussion between the director
Brad Furman and
cinematographer Lukas Ettlin, this feature runs just over
18 minutes and is
presented in letterbox format. You have now been warned though,
that the discussions contained within has spoilers, so watch
the movie first before taking a curious peek into what happened
on the set.
for film buffs, do turn on the Commentary
to listen in to the gory
technical details as shared by the duo, and for nuggets of
information about the
movie, like how it was shot in a period of 18 days, and under
a budget of a million
dollars. With nary a pause, this is quite an informative commentary
to sit through
if you’re always curious about how films are made and
how decisions are decided
upon, together with all the background stories during production.
presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital for its English, Thai and Portuguese
language tracks, there isn't much in this movie to max out
and strain your speakers. Visual transfer is presented in
anamorphic widescreen with no noticeable defect.
by Stefan Shih