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The Take (formerly Bastille Day) - DVD Review

The Take

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

REAL world events overtook action thriller The Take (formerly known as Bastille Day) because of its unfortunate proximity to the terrorist atrocity in Nice, France, that claimed the lives of so many, as well as the Paris shootings last year.

But while James Watkins’s film does trade on a terrorist threat on Bastille Day, the ensuing film is about as far removed from reality as you can get. It’s a popcorn chase thriller that actually works quite well on its own terms.

Richard Madden (formerly of Game of Thrones) is an American pick-pocket named Michael whose decision to snatch the bag of a beautiful young woman named Zoe (Charlotte Le Bon) proves fateful given that the bag in question contains a ticking bomb.

After the bomb explodes, the hapless Michael becomes the primary suspect and is pursued by rogue CIA agent called Briar (Idris Elba). But the two soon become unlikely allies as they work together to find the real culprits and prevent another attack.

The absurd action that follows takes in several nifty chase sequences, including one particularly memorable rooftop pursuit between Madden and Elba that works because of the way it manages to combine daredevil action with credible clumsiness.

But then Watkins knows how to handle a genre piece, having previously helmed the dislikeable but effective Eden Lake and the competent haunted house adaptation of The Woman in Black.

Here, he trades on elements of Bourne and Bond but also puts his own stamp on proceedings, turning something that is entirely preposterous into something highly engaging.

His cast deliver the goods too. Elba, doing his best 007 audition mixed with a little of 24‘s Jack Bauer, is suitably no-nonsense and pumped up, while Madden brings an everyman quality to his endearing thief, even if the decision to cast him as an American seems pointless. The Paris locations also provide an eye-catching backdrop.

Hence, while The Take doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, it’s a surprisingly efficient crowd-pleaser that neither offends nor lives long in the memory.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 92mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: October 17, 2016