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Overall Rating
3.66

Awesome: 24.6%
Worth A Look40.11%
Average: 16.58%
Pretty Bad: 14.44%
Total Crap: 4.28%

15 reviews, 97 user ratings


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Collateral
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"There’s Only ONE Larry Cohen. Accept No Collateral."
3 stars

Gimmicky plots are enough to move Hollywood insiders from red-to-green-to the fast track in a nanosecond. Get a major movie star to sign-up and play against type and you’ve already got a pair of hooks that can grab even the part-time moviegoers during the summertime. Oooooh look honey, Tom Cruise is playing a villain! Not the first time he’s done that, but alright. I’ll admit my intrigue with this project and was along for the ride for about the first hour. But somewhere along the way, the gimmick and suspense had worn out leaving the only real gray matter as the product coloring Cruises’ hair.

Max (Jamie Foxx) is an L.A. cab driver, tooling around the city for a dozen years with grandeurs of his own limousine service. Two passengers this particular night will throw a monkey wrench into his plans. The first is Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith), a disheartened attorney who makes nice with the chatty cabbie and offers her business card. Hopefully he has better dating plans than Travis Bickle. The other is Vincent (Cruise), who offers Max six bills to make five stops on his behalf. At the end of each stop is a mark and Vincent has the gun and the bullets to prove it.

Max wasn’t supposed to be on the receiving end of said knowledge, but when a body flies out the window onto his cab on the very first stop, plans tend to change a bit. Personally, I’d imagine any contract killer would ice the cabbie immediately and find another ride. But in the interest of disbelief suspension, Vincent’s on the clock and forces Max to quit whining and earn his money.

In rather convenient fashion, an undercover cop (Mark Ruffalo, pretending to be a homie?) and the FBI sniff their way onto the string of murders which all seem like witness bread crumbs to the court case of a major drug dealer. Once the audience is on to the trail, it shouldn’t be too hard to realize who the fifth victim will be.

Apparently the screenplay, as originally written, was meant to be a dark comedy. For better or worse you can actually see Martin Lawrence in the cabbie role, particularly in sidetracked scenes like the visit to see his disapproving momma in the hospital (Irma P. Hall, who else?) Foxx brings more shaky humanity to the role, but the screenplay doesn’t gel with him, constantly allowing him stupid decisions and betraying the possibility that Vincent may just let him go at the end of all this. Why does Ruffalo have to mention a recent case about a cabbie killing a bunch of people (plus himself) and how he never believed it? THIS is Vincent’s M.O.?

Vincent’s humorous spouting of fortune-cookie philosophies to Max and his work ethic consistently collapse around the character thanks to Stuart Beattie’s shoddy screenplay (or director Michael Mann’s disability in finding the film’s irony.) Maybe Vincent doesn’t kill Max right away because he efficiently wants to keep the body count down. Bookies would have completely missed the boat on THAT over/under. What sense is there to eliminate the fifth person when all the witnesses are already dead? He goes to great lengths to protect his animonity, but has no trouble on his next stop creating a public melee at a nightclub that should make Great White and the E2 owners in Chicago feel better about their incidents.

Cruise’s performance contains remnants of the cheeky menace he brought to the vampire Lestat in Interview with the Vampire, but the character never seems to have a balance about him. Are we supposed to like him, fear him or feel sorry about his rough upbringing? Anyway you cut it, I felt embarrassed for him during the final third running around like some marquee slasher hunting for his prey. Regardless of one brief Hitchcockian moment of brilliance, the cat-and-mouse finale was amped to far greater perfection eleven years ago by Brian DePalma in Carlito’s Way.

Ultimately this is Mann’s failing to utilize a necessary suspense template to withstand its shaky premise. Any duality between the two working men is completely deficient in the dialogue and there’s never a sufficient obstacle to spin their path into a tenser whirlwind. Mann has been a master of the modern crime drama from TV (Miami Vice, Crime Story) and into film (Thief, Manhunter). His 1995 Heat (remade from his failed TV pilot, L.A. Takedown) had all the questionable morality from crook-to-hero that is sorely lacking in Collateral. There’s certainly a humorless forefront to all of Mann’s work, but it is evident that Javier Bardem’s big speech was reserved somewhere for Christopher Walken, just as this project should have been held for a rewrite session with Larry Cohen.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10300&reviewer=198
originally posted: 08/06/04 14:01:08
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sydney Film Festival For more in the 2005 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

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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