With all its fun and thrills, The Takedown is a fine addition to the buddy cop sub-genre of films.
This review of the Netflix film The Takedown does not contain spoilers.
Ten years after they were originally forced to work together, mismatched cops Ousmane (Omar Sy) and François (Laurent Lafitte) find themselves working a case once more following the discovery of a body on a train.
Buddy cop movies are nothing revolutionary by this point, and yet, they still work. Sure The Takedown may not go down as one of the sub-genre’s greats, but it had all the right moving parts and was a fun way to pass a couple of hours.
What these kinds of films live and die by are their characters, not just as individuals but with how they stand up as a duo too. Yes, the formula was pretty much cracked after Lethal Weapon, but it’s important to have actors link up to make the pairing believable. Omar Sy and Laurent Lafitte are perfectly matched here. Neither one gets stuck with being a by-the-book ball breaker, but they do somehow always manage to completely balance what the other is doing. I was a big fan of Sy’s Ousmane in particular — the man had his boundaries and was not willing to compromise them at all, which made for some cracking exchanges on the occasions where Lafitte’s François did seek to breach them.
The back and forth between the two protagonists had a good tempo, as did much of the rest of The Takedown. The storyline had just enough going on that it was engaging and well-paced, but not so much that it was hard to keep up with or left me confused about what was going on at any one point. There were a couple of aspects that were a little random; were either too good to be true or popped up out of nowhere and took me out of the film for a second, but on the whole, I had no complaints.
It’s easy to be forgiving of the smaller things when a film appears to be putting in some effort and not too eager to rest on its laurels. The Takedown is a real crowd-pleaser in the sense that it has a little bit of everything. Obviously, there are a lot of comedic elements — many of which did not fail to earn a cackle from me — and with the partnership at the center of everything, there are a few deeper, more touching notes as well. What I am keen to note is that it wasn’t overly reliant on any one thing more than the others. It put in the work.
Of course, The Takedown isn’t quite a perfect film. Some of its special effects were a bit naff, and I personally wasn’t a huge fan of some of the editing choices, mainly how quickly cut together a lot of the action scenes were. Some of the car chases and hand-to-hand combat scenes were difficult to fully absorb because they didn’t give you a chance to properly take them in; as soon as your eyes had pulled focus on an angle, the film would cut to something different. This is something I’m especially gutted about in regards to the one-on-one fights as they seemed to be really well choreographed and would’ve been fab had I been able to fully take them on board.
Naturally, there are a lot of similarities to be drawn between The Takedown and so many of the other buddy cop movies that preceded it. As I mentioned at the start of this review, it’s not quite up there with the likes of Lethal Weapon and 21 Jump Street, but let’s say you were having a marathon of films like them, this wouldn’t be out of place amongst them.
All in all, I’m tempted to recommend The Takedown. It’s worth the time investment required to watch it and is a pretty good time when all is said and done. The main characters are definitely the biggest selling point and are magical during the quiet moments between the two of them. There’s plenty of action, but also quite a bit of activity below the surface which means it doesn’t feel too superficial. Whilst not entirely perfect as far as the art of cinema goes, I did have a good time and think a lot of other people would too.
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