Blu-ray Review: The Take (2016) - aka Bastille Day

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First off, The Take is a firecracker action-thriller starring Idris Elba as CIA operative Sean Briar and Richard Madden (Robb Stark in Game of Thrones) as expert pickpocket Michael Mason. Directed with economical verve by James Watkins, The Take mixes elements of Taken, Mission: Impossible, Die Hard, and TV's 24 to very positive effect. It doesn't attempt to reinvent the wheel. It's simply a fast-paced, 92-minute ride that—while ultimately cinematic junk food—should leave action fans satisfied. Especially Idris Elba fans, as he infuses Agent Briar with sly, subtle humor.

Universal Studios' The Take is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD. 
Take 1.jpg Why then have you never heard of The Take? And what's up with that generic title? Originally called Bastille Day, this Paris-set, terrorist-themed thriller had the misfortune of opening theatrically in France the day before the unspeakably terrible 2016 Bastille Day attack in Nice that left 86 people dead. Naturally the film was yanked from theaters out of respect for the victims' families. Its U.K. release had occurred the previous April, already a delay in the wake of the November 2015 terrorist atrocities that claimed 130 lives in Paris.

Though it opened in a few U.S. theaters last November, promotional support had all but evaporated. In fact, if one didn't know better it would be easy to mistake The Take as being exploitative of the hard times France has faced in recent years. In truth, production had already been completed by the end of 2014. Still, it arrives on the home video market with a certain amount of unintentional baggage. No one could be blamed for feeling a bit uncomfortable with the notion of a "fun" thriller about terrorism-related fatalities in France.

It's production/release history aside, The Take is an enjoyable popcorn flick. Michael Mason is an American in Paris, picking as many pockets as he can without physically harmful intentions. On this occasion, however, he swipes the wrong bag. After spying a distraught woman (Charlotte Le Bon) at a crowded outdoor cafe, he gracefully lifts her handbag from right under her nose. Little does he know, the innocent-looking teddy bear inside actually contains a powerful bomb. 
Take 2.jpg It's a grabber of a set-up. Believing he has stolen little more than a children's toy, Michael casually discards it in a random neighborhood. The bomb goes off, killing four. Now Mason is a terror suspect and Agent Briar is hot on his trail. A number of suitable twists keep this cat-and-mouse thriller engaging.

There's nothing revolutionary or even particularly original about The Take, but for (essentially) a direct-to-video obscurity it's easily recommendable. Action sequences are well staged and Elba and Madden make for engaging leads. Universal's Blu-ray boasts a very aggressive DTS-HD MA 7.1 surround mix and a very short 'making of' featurette.


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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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