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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Movie Review- Collateral

Tom Cruise is making Jamie Foxx feel the stress in, Collateral

From Joe's Shelf

Collateral

An L.A. cab driver with aspirations of a better life, gets taken hostage by a hit man that uses him and his cab as accomplices while performing his "jobs". This is a great movie! And like many of Director Michael Mann's (Heat) other films, this one too has a gritty style to it. The main characters are written and performed brilliantly, the musical score and soundtrack is cool as hell, and the L.A. skyline is made to look unique compared to the millions of times that it's been used before. More than just an action drama, Collateral is a statement on regret of our own personal fears of success. Some people never try, some people try but don't follow through, and some people succeed but sell their souls in the process. That's the contrast between the two main characters. Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) represents the majority of us, that procrastinate on taking those extra steps to improve our lives. And Tom Cruise (Edge of Tomorrow) is the extreme opposite that has no fear. When they get together, something's got to give, especially when you're pushed past your limits. The training that Cruise went through for this role is ever apparent, as he shoots and leg swipes through people like a samurai ballerina.

Each of Cruise's five hits are handled in a different manner, which keeps the level of unpredictability fresh. As he and Foxx go along and face one dilemma after another, there's a bonding that develops between the two. Nothing unbelievable or anything, but it seems that as Foxx grows bolder from his experiences, Cruise's respect for him grows as well. Foxx is so good at making us empathize with him, and Cruise is so cold and smooth, that it's impossible to not want to be him. Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island) as an L.A.P.D. officer trying to piece together the night's events, is almost unrecognizable with a goatee and slicked-back hair. He's that guy that you want to root for, even though you know things will probably end badly for him. Some short appearances from Peter Berg (Cop Land), Javier Bardem (The Counselor), Irma P. Hall (Soul Food), Bruce McGill (The Last Boy Scout), Barry Henley (Ali), and Debi Mazar (Goodfellas), enrich the story and perpetuate Mann's level of cool. There is one character however, that helps and hurts this film, depending on which part of the film we're at. Jada Pinkett Smith (Menace II Society) as Foxx's possible love interest, starts off honest and relatable. But when she shows up in the final twenty minutes, she's used as an excuse for Foxx to step up his game and become an unlikely hero with an impossible amount of luck. It's not Pinkett's fault, yet the film's final act hurts my overall rating.

Highs- Was that Jason Statham? (The Transporter), the dispatcher gets dissed, "Yo homey. That my briefcase?", the jazz man hit, Club Fever shoot out, Foxx gets spiteful, Audioslave's "Shadow on the Sun" sets the tone, and Bardem's Santa's helper speech.

Lows- A federal case that huge with no protection for the witnesses, Foxx clumsily disarms a trained police officer, no cell signal in the middle of L.A., no one informs Pinkett of hits, how did Cruise pick the right way to pursue?, and an armed Foxx versus an armed Cruise has an unrealistic outcome.

Despite its impossible ending, Collateral ranks up there with the best of Mann's films. It also makes you want to get off the couch and do that thing that you've been putting off for far too long. For me, it was getting this review done. Now, back to the couch.
Rating- 7.5 out of 10


Collateral (2004)

R | 2h | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 6 August 2004 (USA)

A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles.

Director: Michael Mann
Writer: Stuart Beattie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith 


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