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Take Out (2004)

Not Rated | | Drama | 18 January 2004 (USA)
An illegal Chinese immigrant falls behind on payments on an enormous smuggling debt. Ming Ding has only until the end of the day to come up with the money.

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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ming Ding
Jeng-Hua Yu ...
Wang-Thye Lee ...
Big Sister
Justin Wan ...
Jeff Huang ...
Shih-Yun Tsou ...
Collector #1
Joe Chien ...
Collector #2
Waley Liu ...
Ming's roommate
Ed Jansen ...
Ming's roommate 2
David Liu ...
Ming's roommate 3
Eva Huang ...
Ming's cousin
Ethel Brooks ...
First delivery
Victor Sally ...
Fried hard
Second delivery
Maria Greenspan ...
Portuguese delivery


An illegal Chinese immigrant falls behind on payments on an enormous smuggling debt. Ming Ding has only until the end of the day to come up with the money.

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Once you enter America, you have succeeded. See more »




Not Rated


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Release Date:

18 January 2004 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$3,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,505 (USA) (8 June 2008)


$66,892 (USA) (21 September 2008)

Company Credits

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Did You Know?


Written by Lesonya Gunter (as La Sonya Gunter) and Funkstew
Performed by Lesonya Gunter (as La Sonya Gunter)
Courtesy of A Blakdol Recording
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User Reviews

An interesting early feature by Sean Baker
2 February 2017 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Sean Baker has made some really stunning micro budget films in recent years. Both his much lauded "Tangerine" and less known but equally excellent "Starlet" were wonderful comedy- dramas, artfully telling takes of those normally overlooked by mainstream cinema.

"Take Out" is not quite as strong as those later works, but is still well worth seeing.

This verite style study of a Chinese food deliveryman's desperate rush to earn $800 to pay off the loan sharks that helped pay his way to the US has a nifty sense of almost documentary realism. The acting is very real and understated (by a mixed cast of actors and non-pros), and the tension level is high.

I didn't have quite as strong a positive reaction as most of the critics for a few reasons. First, while avoiding movie clichés for the most part, a couple of key 'twists' are broadcast a mile off, dampening their impact. Also, by making his lead character such a cipher (he not only doesn't speak English, but seems inward and withdrawn even among his fellow Chinese), that it's hard to build up a connection with him as a character. Yes, we can pity his plight, but I wanted to understand what was going on in his head. Also, the shaky-cam shooting style occasionally called more attention to itself then I think it was intended to.

It reminded me a bit in tone of Ramin Bahrani's terrific "Man Push Cart", but for me that early work had a little more poetry and richness.

None-the-less, an intelligent, well-meaning micro budget film (it looks like it was shot on regular definition video), and - given my fondness for Baker's more recent films - I'll certainly go back for another look.

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