Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Movie Review - Collateral (2004)

Max (Jamie Foxx) is a taxi-driver. Vincent (Tom Cruise) is a hitmen.

Vincent is also his fare tonight. Max, who has been driving a cab for twelve years (“It’s just temporary…”) can usually pick a person’s profession just by observation, but Vincent’s line of work is revealed to him like a bolt out of the blue. Or something out of the sky, anyway.

I enjoyed this movie, despite being no fan of Tom Cruise’s. I dunno, there’s just something about his polished mug and irksome smile that gets to me. Maybe it’s just a hangover from Top Gun (1986) and Cocktail (1988) days. He does a damn fine job here though, both in screen performance and acting. Thankfully. Him and Nicholas Cage, they make my spine crawl usually… but I digress. Jamie Foxx (Yes, who? Is right) does a good job too. No idea where he came from, but we’ll probably be seeing more of him in years to come.

I really don’t want to tell you too much about this movie, because it actually does have a plot and storyline for once. You watch a movie like Speed (1994), and you find yourself thinking ‘Gee, what trite cliché are they going to use next… Oh, yeah that one.’ In Collateral it got to the point where I wasn’t too sure at all what the heck was going to happen - at one point I was fairly sure the movie would end ‘happily’, then I thought no, wait, maybe - and later, yeah, happy endi- no, maybe not… right down to when the screen went blank.

Comparisons? It has the feel of Judgement Night (1993) or Underworld (1996). Ordinary people are hoiked out of their plain-vanilla routine lives and dumped into a dangerous situation over which they have no control; and it all happens over a compressed time frame, without dull bits between that set up the next scene, leaving the viewer to work out what the hell is happening all on their own, the poor dears.

Yes, this movie is not for all - you may have to think on accasion. People who didn’t like this movie did however like Spiderman II (2004) and Catwoman (2004), so work out if you’ll want to see it or not from that. There is an occasional chuckle too, but not what you’d really call black humour or morbid mirth, but enough to break the tension now and then.
Well worth seeing, particularly given the alternatives at the moment.

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