Mel Bandison (Holly Mae Brood) is a computer whizz. She checks software programs for errors and, in her free time, finds criminal hackers and ruins them. She also cares for the environment. As a 16-year-old girl, she hacked into an air force base system to protect seals from harm. Like Angela Bennett in The Net and Angela Childs in Kimi, Mel becomes the computer programmer on the run from some dangerous conspiracy/organization/men. The trouble starts when she finds a pipeline in software for a self-driving bus and disables it with her "middle finger" Trojan virus. Now some men are after her as well as Thomas (Geza Weisz), a man with whom she had an embarrassing date.
Who are these men? What are their motives? Can the police be trusted? The answers may not surprise you at all. You see, The Takeover not only dutifully walks on clichés but also does so with listlessness. It's one of the laziest films of the year. To talk about it is to dampen your enthusiasm for films or life itself. The Takeover is like that "middle finger" virus. It shows a finger to the audience for investing their time in something so painfully mediocre. It will find its place among the piles of Netflix trash that the streaming service churns out with alarming rate and fervor.
Consider the other films that The Takeover reminds you of - The Net and Kimi. Both films had a female tech expert running from one place to another. They, too, didn't have solid twists, as the material was fairly predictable. However, the main ingredient that made those movies so watchable was the performance of the lead actress. Sandra Bullock has an alluring charm that rises above the bad material. Even if the situation around her looks preposterous, she takes it with utmost seriousness, which is why we believe in her. In Kimi, we got pleasure from watching Zoë Kravitz's mannerisms. Small things like how she moved her hands after using sanitizer helped depict a person with certain traits and made her character credible. In other words, we cared for both Bennett and Childs and wanted them to overcome every obstacle.
Sadly, Mel is devoid of charms. You cannot blame Mae Brood because she does whatever she can with the role. But there is only so much the actress can do when the movie merely requires her to give worried and sad expressions. She mostly runs or hides from the bad guys or intently looks at computer screens while running her fingers on the keyboard. The movie uses Mel as a functional device to carry out the screenplay's tasks. Thomas decides to help her, and she eventually falls in love with him because this is how a cliché like this usually progresses. There is no hint of romantic spark or chemistry between the two actors. They simply go through the motions.
Mel has a mentor-type figure named Buddy (Frank Lammers). They were once close to each other, but she discovered something about him and reported it to Interpol. So Mel, too, is on the run. However, The Takeover is so bland that all this information does nothing for the relationship between Buddy and Mel. When he reappears later, he looks like a new character. You can remove the prologue and tweak this thread, and The Takeover would still be as dull as the current version. At least, in the modified edition, it would have one less cliché to recycle. I am talking about the "If you are hearing this, then I am dead" message. Like everything else, this scene is invoked with more laxity and less dedication.
The final portions of The Takeover resemble a Speed-like thriller. If you are still reading this review, you would guess these scenes lack that edge-of-your-seat element. Since the movie is near the finish line, you predict that the self-driving bus will stop near the elevated bridge. This is not the kind of film that likes to shock. The sequence, too, comes and goes so quickly that you don't register the dangerous situation of the passengers. Then again, if you make it this far in the film, you will either be disengaged or probably scrolling through your phone. The bus is saved in the end, but nothing stops The Takeover from crashing into the wall of cinematic disaster.
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