Mickey Rourke’s career must be totally off the rails if he’s desperately whipping up his services for schlock in the middle of a global pandemic. Alongside the upcoming WarHunt and The Commando, Take Back is at least one of three films the veteran actor shot during the quarantine period, presumably aiming to win an Oscar for Least F’s Given. Unfortunately, in this case he is more worthy of an award for Least Effort Given.
Financiers may have gotten comfortable knowing that paying the star of The Wrestler would at least guarantee some eyeballs, but the lack of cash elsewhere in the production is evident. Take Back looks cheap, sounds cheap and thinks cheap. Director Christian Sesma deals with the issue of human trafficking in the worst way possible: shooting horribly gratuitous scenes of kidnapped women, closely focusing on their butts and boobs as they lie unconscious. Not even Michael Bay has been so crass.
It centres on Brian and Zara, a couple who train in martial arts together, played by Michael Jai White and Gillian White (an actual couple who train in martial arts together). Zara’s violent encounter when a criminal invades her home unravels a link to her past, an old acquaintance called Patrick (Rourke). Subsequently, Zara’s daughter is kidnapped – well over halfway through the movie, by the way – by one of Patrick’s lieutenants and thrown into a local slavery ring.
Michael Jai White would typically be the go-to guy in this scenario, as the ass-kicking action star who can easily occupy a vengeful role. But he takes a backseat while his wife Gillian drives the action forward, showcasing her awesome skills as both a dramatic actor and hand-to-hand combatant. Unfortunately, her hard work is undercut by a camera that doesn’t know where to look and editing that hates situating the audience in coherent time and space. Basic rules of white balance and colour grading are ignored and the result is an atrocity that’s ugly inside and out. Take Back carries the feeling of a forced production, harried and hurried in the heat of Covid-19.
Take Back is released digitally on demand on 26th March 2021.
Watch the trailer for Take Back here: