“The Takeover” is a brisk-enough but seriously formulaic Dutch thriller about a hacker being chased by villains she’s crossed and hunted for a murder she’s been framed for but didn’t commit.
So it’s a little like a lot of “coder/hacker” thrillers. Take Sandra Bullock’s “The Net,” for instance.
There’s some suspicious code that the hacker finds in a Dutch company’s new self-driving bus software.
Wait, there’s a bus? So we know what screenwriters Tijs van Marle and Hans Erik Kraan were doing the weekend they roughed this roughhousing chase picture script out — a Sandra Bullock binge fest!
It’s to their credit that knowing those antecedents doesn’t give the whole movie away. But it’d be seriously short of surprises even if you didn’t pick up on that pretty early on — like two or three scenes in.
Holly Mae Brood (“All You Need is Love”) is Mel, the lovely brunette in peril this time, a hacker taken under the wing of an OG “hacker” turned “cyber security specialist” named Buddy back when Mel was a teen.
That’s a cute scene. She’s shutting down a local airbase’s air traffic control from a PC in her parents’ garage when we meet her. Doesn’t like the noise from all the constant flyovers.
Buddy (Frank Lammers of “Black Book” and “Ferry”) seems sympathetic.
Cut to ten years later, and Mel B. is on her own, working for a company that has to sign off on the software that will run Rotterdam’s first self-driving bus. Mel sees something wrong, sets up a “Trojan Horse” to foil whoever is stealing data from the bus. For an encore, she joins her online international hacking co-op to rob from rich blackmailing hackers and donate “their crypto to charity.”
When two guys break into her apartment, all bets are off. She’s pissed off the wrong SOMEbody somewhere.
She figures out fast that she can’t trust the cops. She figures out faster that somebody’s faked a video that frames her for murder. And with her phone traced and her apartment watched, she has nowhere to run.
EXCEPT for the flat of hapless Thomas (Géza Weisz) a gauche and goofy blind date that went nowhere the night before.
There’s this villain who keeps calling with threats. He (Lawrence Sheldon) is fond of black leather gloves and Audis, just like every other bad guy in a Euro thriller.
“Make the right decision and I won’t kill you,” he purrs — in English because that’s what he speaks in either the Dutch or English-dubbed versions of this.
The chases are routine, the action beats pretty much punched out according to formula and the finale we can see from the film’s second scene.
Still, there are some laughs from the under-estimatable Thomas and Brood runs likes she means it and throws a punch like a hacker who keeps a punching bag in her flat to practice. Which she does.
Not enough here to recommend “The Takeover,” but if you’ve never seen a Sandra Bullock thriller from the ’90s, it’ll all seem new to you.
Rating: TV-MA, violence, profanity
Cast: Holly Mae Brood, Géza Weisz, Frank Lammers, Walid Benmbarek and Lawrence Sheldon
Credits: Directed by Annemarie Van De Mond, scripted by Tijs van Marle and Hans Erik Kraan. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:28