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Overall Rating
3.66

Awesome: 24.47%
Worth A Look40.43%
Average: 16.49%
Pretty Bad: 14.36%
Total Crap: 4.26%

15 reviews, 98 user ratings


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Collateral
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by Scott Weinberg

"A summertime action movie that has wit, brains, style and character? Weird."
4 stars

Half crime thriller and half unexpectedly amusing buddy pic, Michael Mann's "Collateral" throttles full-bore through one night of murder and mayhem. It's like Brian De Palma meets Martin Scorsese, and it's absolutely one of Mann's best movies yet.

Tom Cruise as a cold-blooded and merciless assassin?

Already I'm intrigued.

Jamie Foxx as a milquetoast cab driver?

Interesting...

Then toss the slickly talented Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider, The Last of the Mohicans) into the equation and you've got one tight-fisted little all-in-one-night crime thriller that delivers generous doses of high-end action amidst compelling character moments...

Boom. You've got the best action flick of the summer...at least as far as grown-ups are concerned.

Cruise is an icy hitman who goes by the name of Vincent. Foxx is an aimless, yet intelligent and kind-hearted, young cab driver. Fate jams the duo together for one (extremely) long evening in Los Angeles as Vincent "does his rounds". Max becomes more anxious as the bodies begin piling up, and somewhere a few miles back the cops are just beginning to pick up the pieces.

Plotwise, Collateral is simple "high concept" all the way, but Mann and screenwriter Stuart Beattie manage to elevate the material beyond simple gimmickry. A brief parcel of plotholes may rear their ugly heads now and again, but for the most part this is a seriously crafty and intelligent little thriller.

The deal is that Vincent promises Max 700 bucks to act as wheel-man while the killer dispatches his victims. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that Max is pretty much doomed once Vince's dirty deeds are done. This is the spine of tension that runs through the entire movie...up until a somewhat formulaic finale that involves a lot of running, a subway train, and some truly bad marksmanship all around.

Shot mostly on digital video and boasting a grittily beautiful visual style, Collateral is fascinating to watch - even in between the assassinations and gung-ho gunplay. Boasting two distinct (and very talented) cinematographers, one for film and one for digital, Mann is able to bring late-night L.A. to life that few filmmakers can. Plus James Newton Howard's score is one of the best I've heard in a long time. It's catchy, gloomy, totally in tune with the mood of the film, and it never impedes upon the action itself. Excellent movie music.

Since Foxx and Cruise are in virtually every scene, much of Collateral's success depends upon their individual performances, as well as their chemistry together. Fortunately, it's all aces across the board in this department. Cruise seems to be really relishing the Bad Guy vibe, and his Vincent is a guy we can't take our eyes off of. He's coolly evil, he's infinitely fascinating, and he's creepily likable. And as far as Jamie Foxx goes, I'm willing to remove him from the Comedy Guys pile and move him right into the Dramatic Chops category. After pleasantly surprising just about everyone with his commanding turns in Any Given Sunday, Redemption and now Collateral...heck, this guy's got some real, serious skills. (And don't be stunned when Foxx gets nominated for his upcoming portrayal of Ray Charles!)

Collateral is not exactly deep or even startlingly original. But it is a smoothly satisfying and exceedingly well-made crime story, and one that should capably please anyone who considers themself a fan of Mann, Cruise or Foxx. If you're not, maybe this flick will help convert you.

In a summertime season full of gee-whiz spectacle and generally mindless gizmos, it's exciting to see an "action flick" this mature and refined and well-conceived. This is a supremely good-looking movie, one that boasts a canny concept, the actors required to pull it off, and a gifted director doing his part to elevate the genre just a little. Plus it has one of the coolest extended shootouts I've seen in years, a sequence that, by itself, is worth the price of admission.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10300&reviewer=128
originally posted: 08/06/04 16:36:17
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sydney Film Festival For more in the 2005 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell very good cruise & foxx are great 4 stars
1/24/10 Jeff Great film. 5 stars
8/10/09 Jeff Wilder Well-made and involving. Only the interminable ending keeps me from giving it 5 stars. 4 stars
2/05/09 Faraz J Boring movie. Who cares about the acting if the movie is boring. Crap. 3 stars
12/28/08 Samantha Pruitt boring ass movie, fell asleep during it, stupid plot! 1 stars
11/01/08 ldavies I don't understand the 5 star ratings, Not that special. 3 stars
8/12/08 Shaun Wallner Cruise does it again! 5 stars
4/23/08 Quigley Very well-made thriller. Foxx, Cruise and Mann do brilliant work here. 5 stars
4/16/08 Jack Sommersby Stupid script and numerous implausibilities mar this good-looking crima drama. 2 stars
11/28/07 Vincent I dare to say this's Mann's best. needs to be seen more than once to really appreciate it 5 stars
11/20/07 Jose Luis Mann got another masterpiece. Very enjoyable film, great perfomances 5 stars
5/14/07 mb Adrenalin, Murders, Some Charm 4 stars
3/28/07 Double M Just brilliant.. Cruise was perfect in a surprising role and was snubbed of an oscar nom. 5 stars
3/22/07 ES That's a good movie right there 4 stars
2/08/07 R.W.Welch Contrived but entertaining. Script has some spark to it. 4 stars
2/07/07 AJ Muller The Mann has done it yet again. Smart, slick, and wholly badass. 5 stars
1/31/07 William Boyle Spectacular nonsense. Cruise is like a Terminator with a screw loose. 4 stars
1/27/07 Tamara D. Leonard Boring! 1 stars
1/24/07 MP Bartley A snappy, brisk thriller. Direction doesn't lag and Cruise is icily excellent. 4 stars
11/03/06 mg I am 43 and this is the BEST movie I have ever seen in my life. Positive & motivational 5 stars
10/22/06 David Pollastrini very good 3 stars
4/03/06 JRE it's overrated but has lot's of action and great acting 4 stars
3/11/06 Dillon Top-notch action drama. Cruise is in top form and Foxx breaks through. 5 stars
12/30/05 Agent Sands One of greatest recent suspense films. 5 stars
12/22/05 steve newman Excellent film - the ending was predictable 4 stars
11/18/05 Chris Barrett Cruise Should Have Got An Oscar Nomination. Simply Brilliant. Mann's 2nd Best To Heat 5 stars
10/18/05 yj yyjyytn 1 stars
9/24/05 Jonathon Holmes one of the 10 best films of the year 5 stars
7/19/05 leeyicia m i loved this movie. i love anything with jamie foxx is in. 5 stars
7/11/05 slanes It was okay, I thought it would be a lot betterfrom all the hype. 3 stars
5/25/05 Casey Becher Pretty good Tom Cruise movie, but not as good as Mission Impossible. 4 stars
5/07/05 Who am I? This aint bad at all, nice look and feel although there were some misses along the way 4 stars
4/09/05 Monster W. Kung "Good guy stuck with bad guy" piece of crap, with laughably absurd action sequences. 1 stars
3/28/05 Charlie Tom's best! A great movie! 5 stars
3/27/05 Karen I hated it 1 stars
3/13/05 Fabr Nothing special. Nothing amazing in it 3 stars
2/22/05 Captain Craig Tom was surprisingly good as a bad guy, but Jamie stoled it! 4 stars
2/06/05 Phil M. Aficionado What David Hollands said. Boring, actually; I slept through parts of it. 2 stars
2/02/05 lisa w This one had me hooked from minute one, just something about it. Fab Cast 5 stars
2/01/05 Christy Harris Loved these guys! Great car chases! 4 stars
1/30/05 Dan Interesting Movie... 4 stars
1/30/05 sam bonner interesting mix of brutal action and dime store existential philosophy 4 stars
1/16/05 Landshark No, I shot him -- the bullets and the fall killed him. Maybe Mann's best. 5 stars
1/10/05 Lucas Stenz The worst Mann film yet; the wolf scene is hysterical! 2 stars
1/01/05 HL Cruise wacking bad guys and no remorse for killin' a cop..I don't think so! 2 stars
12/31/04 Tjalda L. Schiel Mann, you're Da Man. Cruise, forget being the hero, be the villain. 5 stars
12/30/04 Katie Evridge Not as much action as I thought. Much more psychological. Ok movie! 4 stars
12/29/04 Tom Ciorciari Much ado about Cruise in a buzzed flat top... 3 stars
12/28/04 efrain beautiful, unnerving, sad. awesome. 5 stars
12/28/04 mwildema A nice suprise. 4 stars
12/16/04 ad good job 4 stars
12/16/04 Rizal Malik One exciting ride that is addictive. Outstanding cast, direction, script and cinematography 5 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams my favorite movie of 2004 5 stars
12/06/04 Gazza J Fucking Champion! 5 stars
11/25/04 Shams Huque Mann is a legend. Cruise was pretty good! 5 stars
11/07/04 John Bale Possibly the best hitman film since The Professional, Cruise heads a good cast. Suspenseful 5 stars
11/05/04 Dean Nice Camera angles 4 stars
11/03/04 Lee Graham Dark and atmospheric. Best performance I've seen by Cruise. 5 stars
10/25/04 ALDO Nothing special....too much shit chat...the last 30 mins is ok 3 stars
10/24/04 Luke A real masterpice, in my opinion! 5 stars
10/23/04 Denise really good 5 stars
10/21/04 georgia visually fantastic but a dud script 2 stars
10/21/04 Monday Morning L.A.- A small town...you bump into the same people a lot. Ya, right, but still an OK film. 3 stars
10/20/04 Susan L. Awesome movie. 4 stars
10/16/04 Archanist_101 One of Micheal Mann's best yet... Too bad he didnt hire Crowe & Sandler 5 stars
10/10/04 Ingo Quite ok, but to many "What the hell?"... 3 stars
9/27/04 ALBERT GREAT BRUCE MCGILL 5 stars
9/26/04 Graham Grip those armrests. Grip 'em hard. 5 stars
9/12/04 y2mckay Cruise and Foxx tolerable, J.P. Smith HOT, laggy first half but entertains in the end. 4 stars
8/31/04 Karl story and action a little hard to take 2 stars
8/29/04 Kimesabi A great assassin flick unfortunately assassinated in the last 5 minutes. 5 stars
8/28/04 Tristynn Pretty far fetched. Absolutly no character development. A real let down. 2 stars
8/25/04 Agent Sands By far Mann's best movie, and the best supense thriller in the past 2 years. 5 stars
8/17/04 Joe Kim Great Movie! 5 stars
8/16/04 zer0 falls completely apart halfway through, and the ending is the worst I've ever seen 2 stars
8/16/04 ownerofdajoint an incredibly tight thriller /cruise and foxx are as good here as ever..WOW ! 5 stars
8/16/04 malcolm excellent 'til the last 3 mins. no way a cab driver and lawyer beat a pro killer 4 stars
8/15/04 John a lame script full of ridiculous plot holes but expertly put together by Michael Mann 3 stars
8/15/04 Melissa Just saw it, and loved it! Cruise rocks as a bad guy. 5 stars
8/15/04 Peter James Cruise and Foxx have undeniable chemistry 5 stars
8/15/04 Gray lame! 1 stars
8/15/04 Nikolai Tofu Cruise gives Foxx some conversation instead of muttering to himself for 2 hours 2 stars
8/14/04 Uncle Phucker Mann failed with Ali. But he's getting closer to Heat and Thief days. Not as good as Heat.. 4 stars
8/13/04 McGraw Thrilling, tense, and WONDERFULLY intelligent. 5 stars
8/10/04 arlene dolen michael mann must be a great quentin tarantino fan. it's just that mann got it all wrong. 3 stars
8/10/04 Brian Halley Complete crap 1 stars
8/10/04 wintermute well painted scenes and stunning lighting 5 stars
8/10/04 Mike V Michael Mann meets Brian Depalma and it kicks ass! 5 stars
8/08/04 roddick_luva this movie was good but really draggy 4 stars
8/08/04 sarah the bearah has netflix finally become a verb? 4 stars
8/08/04 rory aweful 1 stars
8/08/04 ajay When did Jamie Foxx become an "actor"?? (ps, Held Up was funny, netflix it) 4 stars
8/08/04 Christina You guys are insane if you didnt like this 5 stars
8/07/04 KingNeutron Vincent is just too one-dimensional. Nothing earth-shattering here, but worth matinee. 3 stars
8/07/04 Brad I loved it. Good job by Jamie Foxx (and Cruise of course) 5 stars
8/07/04 Rose Doub exciting and able to keep the viewer interested and in suspense to the end 4 stars
8/06/04 Elaine Perrone Collateral: A/K/A YET Another 48HRS. Meh. 3 stars
8/04/04 Ray Ok 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Aug-2004 (R)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  14-Oct-2004


Directed by
  Michael Mann

Written by
  Stuart Beattie

Cast
  Tom Cruise
  Jamie Foxx
  Jada Pinkett Smith
  Mark Ruffalo
  Peter Berg
  Bruce McGill



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