Of all the unkind fates that can befall a trashy movie, a congealed tone is the toughest one for an audience to tolerate. Alternating the gratuitously violent with the grimacingly campy, THE TAKEOVER is full of sound effects and fury signifying nothing.
Popping his eyes, apoplectic gangster Tony Vilachi (Nick Mancuso) is not willing to fold his tent when big-time muscle from Chicago, Danny Stein (Billy Drago), decides to move in on his LA turf. Stein's every move is suported by his primary partner, Greg (John Savage). While Tony plans
counterattacks to protect his exotic club, Bare Elegance, as well as an impending mega drug-deal on the docks, Stein uses dirty tricks to reawaken the loyalty of jailed patsy Jonathan Fitzsimmons (David Amos). Jonathan's restaurant was nabbed and coarsened by Vilachi into a strip joint. Warning
his cellmate Mickey Lane (Gene Mitchell) that Stein will extract a high cost for any favor granted them, Jonathan and Mickey nonetheless allow Stein to spring them from jail after Mickey shivs one of Stein's enemies in the prison shower. Like a yo-yo, wharf boss Manu (Manu Tupou) swings between
Stein and Vilachi. The war turns uglier as Stein insists that Jonathan undermine Vilachi's make-or-break drug deal by kidnapping club hostess Kathy (Cali Timmins), Vilachi's main squeeze and formerly Jonathan's close associate. After an ambush at Bare Elegance leaves Vilachi's nephew dead,
Jonathan and Mickey double-cross Stein by rescuing Kathy. Stein's men inadvertently pounce on Mickey's sister Cindy (Anita Barone) by mistake. During a pow-wow in which Manu's men bounce back to Vilachi's camp, Stein and Vilachi wind up in a Mexican stand-off. Casualties mount. After Vilachi
wounds Kathy for not reciprocating his twisted adoration, Jonathan pops Vilachi. Stein wounds Mickey who blasts him right back, and Jonathan finishes off slimy Stein. Jonathan, Mickey, Cindy, and Kathy step over assorted Mafia corpses and nurse their various injuries in a future, where dons can't
keep calling in favors and where Bare Elegance is once again a posh eatery.
Despite a bevy of B-movie star-powered names, THE TAKEOVER is a numbingly routine crime-stopper in which the three pairs of protagonists (Stein and Greg, Jonathan and Mickey, Vilachi and Kathy) seem to be coming from separate films, all unconvincingly pasted together. One can't shake the sense
that this cast never really acted opposite each other; perhaps their performances were spliced together and matched through matting and post-production optical effects. Irritatingly, THE TAKEOVER slobbers after a blackly comic tone, treating its caricatures of chintzy mobsters as highly satirical.
Aiming for PULP FICTION (1994), but only giving us the pulp, the film's coarse humor magnifies its cartoonish aspects to the detriment of suspense. Fashioned in that 10-ton tongue-in-cheek style popularized by Stallone and Schwarzenegger, the witless quipping could best be described as Noel Coward
on steroids. There's plenty of muscle on display, but most of it is in the actors' thick tongues.
Besides the crushing rib-tickling that turns this film into THE GODFATHER (1972) redone as a Fox sitcom, THE TAKEOVER handles all its reversals of fortune with a cloddish eagerness. The car chases hog too much screen time; the prison scenes are sanitized; the hopscotching with the dock boss is a
tiresome game of shifting priorities. More galling is the movie's premise that a career crook like Vilachi would screw up the score of a lifetime over a woman who loathes him. Add up all these debits, and one is left with a gangland spree that neither stimulates nor amuses. Redeeming itself
somewhat with a bullet-ballet of a climax, THE TAKEOVER confuses busyness with eclat and fails to answer one essential question: Why do patrons keep frequenting Vilachi's establishment when it seems to be the best place in town to get shot at in between highballs? These ecdysiasts must put on some
show! (Graphic violence, extreme profanity, extensive nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, substance abuse.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: Of all the unkind fates that can befall a trashy movie, a congealed tone is the toughest one for an audience to tolerate. Alternating the gratuitously violent with the grimacingly campy, THE TAKEOVER is full of sound effects and fury signifying nothing. P… (more)