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April 2008

By Wilson Morales



Distributor: Destination Films
Director: Brad Furman
Producers: Braxton Pope, Andrew Weiner
Screenwriter: Jonas Pate & Josh Pate
Cinematographer: Lukas Ettlin
Rating: Rated R for violence, sexual content, language and some drug use
Running Time: 96 min
Cast: John Leguizamo, Rosie Perez, Tyrese Gibson, Bobby Cannavale, Yul Vazquez, Roger Guenveur Smith, Laurence Mason, Jessica Steinbaum-Lopez




With the exception of Franc Reyes’ Empire and the indie film ‘Cronicas’, it’s very rare to see John Leguizamo in a leading role. As many films and characters he’s played over the years, most of them are either small and supporting. Nevertheless, Leguizamo is a very talented actor and well respected among his peers. When given the chance to showcase how good he can be as lead as he is with his latest film, ‘The Take’, you wonder why many studios and producers are holding him from elevating his status. Leguizamo, along with Rosie Perez, give intense and credible performances in what could easily be a B movie.

Felix De La Pena ( 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.

There really isn’t any suspense to the film. Everything is almost by the book and predictable, but it’s Leguizamo’s performance that carries the film. Not only is he a doting father to his kids, but the man has to face everyday after the incident battling his rage that can’t be controlled. As his wife, Rosie is very touching and supporting. As the ultimate clichéd villain, Tyrese demonstrates a sense of ruthlessness we haven’t seen from him on the screen. Most of the roles he takes always have him angry at one point or another, but in this film his anger is not restrained, it’s merciless. Director Furman has crafted a film that could have easily been played by a number of actors, but he brought in a cast that would bring in some weight and substance and have you care as to what happens to the good guys.