"Redemptive, But Flawed"
What You Need To Know:
THE TAKE is very low budget with a grainy look that sometimes makes the images difficult to see. The production quality is mid-range. The acting is honest and often gut-wrenching. The plot, however, is somewhat predictable, not much more than a television drama. Also, the movie’s positive Christian aspects are offset by extreme foul language and graphic violence.
(CC, BB, FR, LLL, VVV, S, N, AA, DD, MM) Strong Christian moral worldview as character struggles with revenge, with Christians positively portrayed, but protagonist reads a Sunday School paper saying, “God helps those who help themselves,” an aberrant message not found in the Bible; about 54 obscenities, four profanities and a racial epithet; extreme graphic violence of numerous characters being shot in head, with much blood and gore; married couple in bed together; upper male nudity, man in briefs; drinking of alcohol and drunkenness; smoking cigarettes and marijuana; and, murder, stealing, seeking revenge.
In THE TAKE, the life of armored car driver Felix (John Leguizamo) is tossed into chaos when he’s robbed, shot and framed for the heist. Though shot in the head, he lives and begins rehabilitation. However, the thieves frame him, and he becomes the FBI’s number one suspect. Frustrated over the situation, Felix begins to hunt down the real thieves, seeking revenge. In the end, Felix must choose between killing the man who shot him or sparing the man’s life.
Before the incident, Felix is a good father struggling to make ends meet. He tells his son that he loves him often and tells his son to “make good choices today.” Not a perfect person, but we see that he’s trying to lead a moral life. When he’s shot and framed for the crime, Felix becomes bitter. While watching a martial arts movie on TV, he explodes in anger when the TV character won’t get revenge. His thoughts become dark and, because of the threat of domestic violence, his wife Marina (Rosie Perez) moves her and the kids out for their safety.
Felix’s wife Marina (Rosie Perez) is a practicing Catholic. When Felix is in surgery, she prays the rosary, calls to God and then later gets her husband to come to church where they recite the Lord’s Prayer. She gives him a Bible, which has a Sunday School paper that says, “God helps those who help themselves.” This directs Felix to try to discover evidence against the thieves instead of only revenge. However, the phrase about God helping is not in the Bible, but rather a quote from Benjamin Franklin. This is just part of the “mixed message” that the movie delivers.
The movie is shot very low budget with a grainy look that at times makes even the images difficult to see. The production quality is mid-range. The acting is honest and at times gut-wrenching. The villain, called Buddha (Laurence Mason), is downright scary with his understated performance and nonchalance attitude about taking life. The plot is somewhat predictable and not much more than a television crime drama. In fact, only the foul language and graphic violence separates this from being something seen on LAW & ORDER or another police drama on television.
If the language and extreme violence were toned down, it’d be easier to recommend THE TAKE. The message of not seeking revenge is positive and some of the actions of the characters are very commendable. However, there’s much drinking and use of marijuana. Many of the security guards and even thieves are all shot in the head and the camera doesn’t turn away. Even in the ER, we see the surgeon graphically remove the bullet. This attraction to gruesome images limits who should see the movie and its potentially positive message.