Loius Leterrier is one of the most exceptional cases of high and lows in all of Hollywood. The French director was able to make space among the competition and for a time became the go-to guy when you needed to deliver a serviceable action flick. The director’s filmography is very eclectic, but quality seems to escape the artist at every step. It isn’t the case that Leterrier tries to make bad movies, they are not bad at all, but they do fall into the territory of the mundane or mediocre.
The Transporter and its sequel put the director on the map, and Hollywood quickly grabbed him to take on several promising projects. Clash of the Titans had enormous hype before its release, but on that first weekend in theaters, the hype just went kaput, as audiences and critics discovered that the ad campaign was more exciting than the movie itself.
The same would happen when Marvel grabbed him to direct the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The now forgotten The Incredible Hulk, the only film in the franchise that has been basically deleted from all retrospective and legacy campaigns. Again, Leterrier didn’t deliver a bad movie, but it was quite forgettable. At least, the Abomination made a recent appearance in Shang-Chi, showing that Marvel remembers that film existed.
Leterrier would find similar reception with the Now You See Me franchise, which is now dead, as audiences quickly forgot about the characters and the premises of both movies. Now Leterrier is having a sort of comeback. He just recently signed as the director of Fast X the 10th installment in the Fast & Furious franchise. However, before that is comes with this Netflix flick that feels like a step back in every way for the director.
The Takedown is a sequel to the 2012 film, On the Other Side of the Tracks. The film is directed by Louis Leterrier and stars Omar Sy, and Laurent Laffite, who reprise the roles of Ousmane Diakhité, and François Monge, the protagonist from the previous film. In this opportunity, the odd couple will join forces once again to dismantle a big criminal operation. On the way, they will have to learn to work together as a team and not as people who don’t really like each other.
It is clear that for Netflix, making action movies has become an issue. In recent memory, only Extraction seems to be the outlier, by giving the audiences the high octane sequences and the intensity they crave for when watching movies of this genre. The behind the camera talent is quite important in order to pull off these potent sequences in front of a camera. It is a lot of work that requires preparation and precision when it comes the time to execute them.
The Takedown labels itself as an action comedy, and while at times it is funny, in a very French way, the action is quite lackluster. This is a film made by the way of coverage. Which means the filmmaker set multiple cameras on set, and they roll them in, and then they find the movie in the editing bay by grabbing all the material and trying to make something coherent out of it. The process gives results, but it never gives excellent ones.
Each one of the action sequences in the film seem like they were rehearsed very little, and each one can be resumed as a lot of punch throwing around. None of the sequences deliver that punch factor that every single action movie should have. When thinking about movies like Extraction, John Wick, The Raid, those sequences get tattooed in people’s brains after watching them, there’s none of that here in The Takedown.
Most of the enjoyment in the film comes from the interactions between Sy and Laffite. The pair has great chemistry, and their characters are so different in terms of personality and how they behave as policemen that the jokes and situational comedy basically writes itself. Nevertheless, it is clear that Sy is the heart of the movie. The actor’s charisma is undeniable, and he carries the film on his shoulder from beginning to end. Some people just have that “it” factor, and Omar Sy is one of them.
Visually, the movie goes full on the color saturation. At times feeling closer to the Transporter movies from Leterrier’s early career or even something made by Michael Bay. The visual palette isn’t exactly pretty, but it is nice to see a European film that isn’t scared of color. Lately, most efforts from that side of the world decide to be gray and cold.
When it comes to the plot, the mystery and the villains are exactly fascinating. There is a bit of social commentary here and there, but it feels shallow. In reality the plot is just an excuse to make the characters interact, you won’t even remember what was happening in the movie when the credits start rolling, but you might remember the jokes and the conversations.
The Takedown isn’t bad, but it is very forgettable. The movie just doesn’t have what it takes to make a splash in the action movie scene or in the comedy movie scene, it just sits there in the middle. It is a nice film to burn 2 hours of your time, but don’t expect anything substantial or cool about it when you see it. If you decide to do it, of course.