DVD Review: Take Down (USA/UK, 2016) is a contrived thriller that tries too hard to be Brat Camp meets Hunger Games

Take Down (aka Billionaire Ransom) is what you would get if you made cardboard cut-outs characters and put them in a world that was like Brat Camp-meets-The Hunger Games. The film is a thriller that is short on character development and suspense. It means that what ensues feels rather slow, tedious and contrived.

The story stars a bunch of annoying and spoilt little, rich kids. The king of these privileged brats is Kyle Hartmann (Jeremy Sumpter), a rather callous young man. He is a hedonistic lad that enjoys getting drunk and high. The problem is that he decides to do this before getting behind the wheel of a car. An accident follows and he leaves a woman for dead. Charming.

Hartmann’s father (Sebastian Koch) feels that the only way to straighten his son out is to send the boy to a survivalist-type camp on a remote island off the coast of Scotland. It’s here that the teens (including our very own, Pheobe Tonkin) have to learn how to survive on this rough and rather beautiful terrain. But things take a dangerous turn when the camp is infiltrated by a group of opportunistic kidnappers (who are led by Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick). These misfits are hoping to extort the rich parents of the little monsters for $1 billion. The story becomes a different kind of survival tale to say the least.

This film is written by Alexander Ignon (Ransom) and directed by Jim Gillespie (I Know What You Did Last Summer). This film has some action but it is not in the same realm as those aforementioned films. Take Down is severely lacking in suspense and violence and feels too aimless at times (a fact that isn’t helped by some choppy pacing as well). When all of these rotten ingredients are combined with a load of under-developed characters (and some spoiled teens who aren’t even remotely likeable) it becomes such a pointless drama that it’s not so much a case of fight to survive as it is asking ourselves, “Who gives a feck?” In short, it’s completely disappointing.


Take Down is now available on DVD.


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