MOVIE REVIEW: “Collateral” stars Jamie Foxx (Django: Unchained, Ray), Tom Cruise (Edge of Tomorrow, Oblivion), Jada Pinkett Smith (Madagascar, Scream 2), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher, The Avengers), Peter Berg (Lone Survivor, Battleship), Bruce McGill (Law Abiding Citizen, Lincoln), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Skyfall), Irma P. Hall (The Ladykillers, Patch Adams), and Barry Shabaka Henley (The Terminal, Miami Vice ). It is directed by Michael Mann (Heat, Public Enemies) and written by Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra). Max (Foxx) is a cab driver with big dreams of opening up his own limo tour company on an island. Life has been rough, but nothing he couldn’t handle and takes his days one step at a time. That is until he meets Vincent (Cruise). What he thought was a usual drive to one destination turns into four others, with Vincent killing people at every stop. Max wants out, but Vincent won’t let him, sending Max on a dangerous and crazy night that will forever be in his memory.
With an underlying theme that is sure to hit home and an all-star cast, what can go wrong with “Collateral”? Good question. A rather thorough explanation will give the best reasoning. I am a Tom Cruise fan, for those of you who can’t tell by the page on my site dedicated to Tom Cruise, so I have made it a journey to see and review every film he has ever been in, often buying them on Blu-ray. This movie is no exception to this routine. I will start by saying that this is an enjoyable release. It is something new, something gritty, and something that will make you look back on even though your first reaction probably didn’t fare well. I chose this movie to watch because of a reviewer I watch known as Chris Stuckmann (you should check him out on YouTube), and he picked this as one of his favorite movies. So of course I had to watch it and I had high hopes. This is a very well-put-together piece of cinematography, but it didn’t meet my expectations. I was expecting an A+ film, but instead got two grades down, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The first pro I have for this movie is how original it is. The description should spark interest and it is definitely something I haven’t seen before. It was good to not watch an overly cliché action movie for once and have some real depth to it. What the writer does best is throw you into a situation that you aren’t familiar with and have you build alongside the main protagonist, which in this case is Jamie Foxx’s Max. We live through his eyes and see the world of a cab driver. The cinematography style is also different and gives a feel of little editing. Other than cutting the film reel, everything seems genuinely preserved, not over-polished on the cutting room floor, which to me gives it a realistic vibe. It takes getting used to, but once you do you enjoy it. The acting is fantastic, with everyone doing an amazing job, especially Tom Cruise. This is probably one of my favorite performances that he has given as well as characters because of how deep he is as well as ruthless. Jamie Fox did a terrific job too, and I saw a character out of him instead of himself which is always great. With the acting, the characters are fun. Granted, not all of them are fleshed out, mainly Vincent and Max are the only ones with depth, but they still served as some good characters (some didn’t, which I will get to later). The story moves at a good pace and has a great build-up of who Max is in the beginning so that you aren’t just thrown into crazy action. Which brings me to another pro: the action. There wasn’t a lot of it, but when there was, it was choreographed well. It gave intensity and velocity because of how real the characters were. The final pro I have is the theme. I don’t want to spoil it, but Tom Cruise talks about it a lot in this movie and when he does, he steals the show. It’s some of the best parts, which gives it its high score. The third act of this film made this movie and was a terrific climax to the story, which helped the theme. Outside of the pros, I have a couple of issues. The first is that some characters are rather useless. Mainly the character of Fanning (Ruffalo). He’s a good device to use in the plot, but he isn’t used to a full extent, and his performance is rather overshadowed by Cruise and Foxx. He didn’t do much to the story and it probably would’ve gone the same way without him, which can go along with the theme perfectly as I think about it. There are things I haven’t discovered of this movie that will definitely take a second viewing to understand. The second con I have is that, although realistic for the most part, there are some things that don’t feel like they would ever happen the way they did. It comes up quite a bit in spots, which can be nitpicked, but I won’t spoil what. Finally, the last issue I have is that because of Ruffalo’s character and some other elements to the story, a good portion of the meat to the basic story gets pushed around. You’ll be in one place and end up in another. There isn’t much to it when Max meets Vincent and they go on a wild adventure until the theme kicks in because all we have to await for is Vincent to commit a crime. Everything else is really a road block. I will say, however, that this isn’t a major con since it builds character development. It just doesn’t proceed the story in a faster pace. One thing I forgot to mention that isn’t really a con, but odd, is the fact that Jason Statham is in this movie but was in the beginning for only four seconds. I don’t know where they were going with that, which makes me wonder if he was supposed to have a bigger part than he did. Overall this is a deep, well-thought, fun film that is different even though it didn’t meet my expectations. I guarantee that any Cruise or thriller/action fans will enjoy it and I recommend anyone of the age to watch it! FINAL SCORE: 91%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: