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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 Jay Seaver

"Everyone doing their best work."
4 stars

That Michael Mann has directed only eight features in his career isn't exactly surprising; a new Mann film is something to get excited about in part because it's not an annual event, and he's spent some time producing TV in the meantime. Sitting down to watch Collateral, though, I thought that a greater chunk of that oeurve had been in the "L.A. crime story" subgenre, since he seems to fit this movie like a glove. Makes me realize just how definitive Heat was.

Collateral is straight-ahead with its set-up: Vincent (Tom Cruise) and Max (Jamie Foxx) are both consummate professionals. It's somewhat amusing in Max; he's a cab driver with probably the neatest taxi in Los Angeles and the best knowledge of the city's geography, but it impresses Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith), an U.S. Attorney who gives him her cards and says to call her sometime. Vincent, on the other hand, is a hired killer who climbs into Max's cab right after he drops Annie at her stop. Max finds out about Vincent's line of work when a body flies out a window and lands on his roof. From that point forward, Max is basically held hostage as Vincent goes after his four remaining targets, trying to figure out a way to escape the situation alive without getting anyone else killed.

It's a measure of how well Mann sucks the audience into this movie's world that a number of questionable points about the script didn't strike me as unlikely until afterward. Take that first victim, for instance. I just now started wondering about the physics where a bullet packed enough force to drag him through a closed window and far enough out into the alley to land square on top of Max's cab. The guy'd have to be in midair to avoid being stopped when his legs hit the wall below the window, at the very least. Mann probably did well to avoid actually showing us the scene.

It would also seem that as soon as Max knew what Vincent was up to, he'd become a liability for Vincent to eliminate, moving on to the next cab. But then, not only would there be no movie, but the characters would be less interesting. Cruise plays Vincent as a charming sociopath, fully capable of genuine appreciation and respect for his victims, but with no qualms about removing the from the world. He seems to like Max, but that doesn't mean Max will live to see tomorrow.

Jamie Foxx's performance as Max certainly makes me less terrified of him playing Ray Charles later this year (not that Foxx has ever struck me as a bad actor, just that he'd often seemed unexceptional). He's got the more convential character - nice guy, gets in over his head and gets scared, eventually finds a hidden reservoir of strength (thanks, in part, to the villain pointing out his shortcomings). He makes a nice everyman, and in a movie like this, it's something of an accomplishment to make Max not particularly special. We can see ourself in Max because he reacts to peril the way most of us would, and the movie would lose us if at any point we said, hey, I don't think the average guy would react that way. He's not Harrison Ford in The Fugitive, with a mind as sharp as his adversery's, but a guy with the deck almost hopelessly stacked against him.

The rest of the cast is high-quality, considering this movie is the Tom-and-Jamie show and everyone else is pushed to the side. Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Irma P. Hall, Javier Bardem and Bruce McGill (one of my all-time favorite "That Guys") fill smaller roles, and Barry Shabaka Henley (late of Mann's Robbery Homicide Division TV series) has a nice featured part.

The film looks like RHD, too - Mann and his cinematographers do like their grain. It's sometimes a little excessive, like something I have to look through rather than a natural part of a picture, but that's the only complaint. They've got a knack for finding a way to make L.A. fit both Vincent's and Max's perceptions - Vincent finds that city to be a sterile concrete wasteland, but to Max it's home and has its own beauty - in the same shot. They also choose their locations well; I get a sense that the script was written (or re-written) with certain spots in mind.

Michael Mann's made a good movie here, one that makes the most of its stars and generates some good tension; a quality thriller.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10300&reviewer=371
originally posted: 08/12/04 09:24:21
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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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