A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to see a press screening of gangster film Takers and though I must be tight-lipped about the fine details, I can safely assure readers that it was unequivocally awesome. To be on the safe side, all I’ll reveal about the plot is that it involves a bank heist executed in a refreshingly unorthodox manner. Being a project of rap superstar T.I. I must confess I was a little skeptical before the screening. These days it seems like every actor thinks they can make music and every musician thinks they can act but after seeing Takers, it’s obvious to me that T.I. can do both unusually well.

Luckily, last Friday, I also was able to attend a roundtable interview with T.I. at the lavish St. Regis Hotel. who was still in Houston after the red carpet screening of Takers the previous night. He told us that he was originally only offered an acting role in Takers but upon giving his two cents about the script to producers he was also given some creative control and his credit as producer. The film is the first of a three movie deal with Sony cinema subsidiary Screen Gems in which T.I. will get to both produce and act. He hinted to us that the next movie will be some kind of romantic comedy involving the music industry, an image which is surprisingly tender for the King of the South. In addition to his cinematic projects, his upcoming album King Uncaged, and his new partnership with Rémy Martin cognac, T.I. is also managing his A.K.O.O. clothing line which was launched in 2008 and it is, according to him, doing very well even during the current recession.

A strong, no nonsense, gangster flick, that doesn’t pretend to be anything else, make sure not to skip out on Takers. It comes out the 27th of August and the conclusion is anything but the standard, predictable Hollywood fare.

-Jack Daniel Betz