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Michael Mann's Collateral

Published August 8, 2004 in MOVIE REVIEW
By Ryan Parsons | CanMag.Com
Michael Mann delivers a melodrama shooter about a cool ass hitman and his use of an ordinary taxi driver. What results is a film that offers much more than the ordinary Summer blockbuster. The audience should be pleased with characters that are deeper than just a look. Thank you Tom Cruise for continuously delivering on your characters.

The Story


Maxx, played by Jamie Foxx, is an aspiring taxi driver looking to put aside some cash to invest into his limousine company. What seems like an ordinary night shift takes a tumble downwards with Maxx's new passanger Vincent [played by Tom Cruise]. Vincent, who at the beginning seems like a nice, charming guy, turns out to be a hitman sent to Los Angelas to terminate six targets [all of whom are in some way connected]. Guns start blazing, Maxx starts trippin', and the story ensues. However, that is all to the story, a hitman out to collect bounties. Now, in most cases, a simple plot such as this would not deliver a great, or even good, movie. However, Mann applies dialogue that ads so much more to the basic shooter. Through out the film we witness various conversations occur between Maxx and his passenger in which a somewhat strange, and confusing, relationship begins to form [a relationship that was so hard to pick up on that I don't even know if the characters themselves were suppose to understand it]. But again, it all works.

An example of this is when Vincent helps Maxx tell off his boss and protects him from illegal practices. I found this scene very classic in understanding the odd situation Maxx is in as well as how demented Vincent's view is of the world or, more precisely, Los Angeles. Vincent also does other things as well that show some type of protectiveness over Maxx [a protectiveness that you never know would wear off or not]. Especially since Maxx is willing to test Vincent's patience.


Classic Shooter


To explain this film is very hard to do considering the slow pacing with extended dialogues between the characters. However, once the guns start blazing, you know your in.

First off, Mann employs some of the best handgun sound effects I have heard [comparable to the gun fight in Open Range]. Each shot fired is so much louder than the rest of the sounds in the film [giving Vincent's gun its own personality]. Vincent firing his gun was entertainment enough. And the action sequence in the club was as real as it was brutal. Tom Cruise does an astounding job playing the bad ass hitman-for-a- living.


In the end, I only have three complaints. I wish I could have understood the relationship between Maxx and Vincent, I never understood the beginning of the film where Tom Cruise bumps into Jason Statham and drops his briefcase, and I was very disappointed with the inconclusive ending [at least, for the most part].



Final Judgement: Michael Mann does a wonderful job leading his uncommonly deep for a shooter characters while attempting to show the hollowness of man, or that of a big city. You will love and hate Vincent. B+

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Ryan Parsons
Sources: CanMag.Com
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