Monday, June 14, 2021

Take Back, Starring Gillian & Michael Jai White

Zara Rollins does not want to be a victim ever again. After escaping a human trafficker, she married a martial arts instructor. She tried to live a quiet life, but she definitely learned skills to protect herself. When her old captor messes with her and her family, the Rollinses fight back in Christian Sesma’s Take Back, which releases this Friday on VOD.

Rollins was living a happy but relatively quiet life with Brian Rollins and her step-daughter Audrey, until the fateful day she stepped into a neighborhood coffee shop. She easily handles the drug-addled stalker threatening to kill the barista, but she is unprepared for the media circus when the cell-phone video goes viral. Unfortunately, it also attracts the unwelcome attention of “Patrick,” the trafficking kingpin she had hopped she killed during her escape.

Inevitably, he sends a professional to recapture her. When that does not work, he targets her family, forcing Rollins to finally share her full history. There are cops investigating the incidents, but they are much help.

If you think a title like
Tack Back evokes a certain well-known action franchise, you’re maybe not wrong, but this is definitely the bargain basement version. It looks cheap and the predictable storyline basically chugs along on autopilot. However, the action and dramatic chemistry shared by real-life married partners Gillian and Michael Jai White works quite well. Seeing them share domestic scenes and fight together will make you want to see them in a bigger-budgeted film.

Take Back
was produced entirely during the height of the pandemic, so you have to admire Sesma’s tenacity and perseverance. Nonetheless, it is impossible to miss the glaring continuity error when suddenly everyone of is wearing face-masks in public, when the rest of the film, before and after, is entirely mask-free.

The Whites have all kind of chops and James Grusso is satisfyingly gritty playing Det. Schmidt. Chris Browning also adds some nice flintiness as Jerry Walker, Rollins’ client, who lends a hand down the stretch. On the other hand, Mickey Rourke falls back on the same old shtick as Patrick. Frankly, he looks unhealthy. Obviously, crime does not play, because the big-time trafficking kingpin lives in utterly squalid conditions.

It is cool to see Gillian White get the chance to lead an action film, but she and Michael Jai deserve a better vehicle. You have basically seen everything in this film before, usually with more style and distinctiveness. Not recommended,
Take Back releases this Friday (6/18) on VOD platforms.