TAKE DOWN [EDINBURGH FILM FESTIVAL]

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Marshall

After leaving a girl for dead after a drugged-out car crash, overprivileged waster Kyle is sent to a compound on a remote Scottish island for rich young adults to be moulded into functional human beings by a regimen of wilderness survival. However, the place becomes targeted by mercenaries who plan to hold the scions to ransom and fleece their millionaire parents for ransom money.

However entertaining or otherwise you think that sounds, be assured it’s far more boring than that. For starters, instead of the Full Metal Jacket boot camp the description of the compound would imply, it turns out to be more like an outdoor activity centre where everyone becomes respected friends with unconvincingly swiftness. The place comes across like a juvenile detention centre equivalent to the cushy minimum security prisons that convicted white collar criminals are sent to lounge about playing tennis, and if this is what the parents of these privileged brats think is a character building hellhole it’s no wonder their children are narcissistic screw-ups.

When these talentless young things are forced to face the mercenaries by themselves, we are expected to believe that spending a few days camping in the woods where you learn to set a rabbit snare and shoot a stationary deer with a bow and arrow apparently instils you with enough survivalist grit to be able to take on a team of hardened killers. Admittedly, the supposed military specialists make enough stupid mistakes to begin tipping the balance in favour of their quarry, but it in no way justifies the comparative ease with which the professionally trained captors are gradually overcome.

Action thrillers are at their best when a group of underdogs manage to battle odds stacked against them, but it has to be done in a believable or at least consistent manner. It also helps if they are actually in any way sympathetic, but quite frankly the few focal characters are so fundamentally unlikable you’ll end up rooting for the mercenaries. The rest of the band of rich kids have zero characterisation and are only there to make up the numbers, and while it might be tempting to imagine their wealth as having substituted for an actual personality, it’s more likely to just be lazy writing.

A couple of distinctive moments stand out amidst the tedium, such as a rather innovative use for a compound fracture, but everything about Take Down is an overfamiliar slog from start to finish that holds no surprises or excitement.

TAKE DOWN / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JIM GILLESPIE / SCREENPLAY: ALEXANDER IGNON / STARRING: JEREMY SUMPTER, PHOEBE TONKIN, ED WESTWICK, ASHLEY WALTERS, SEBASTIAN KOCH, JULIA RAGNARSSON, DOMINIC SHERWOOD / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expected Rating: 6 out of 10

Actual Rating:
 


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