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Collateral

Released: 2004

Genre: Action & Adventure

Runtime: 1 hr 59 min

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Michael Mann

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx

A cabbie is unlucky enough to pick up a hired killer.

Raw, unrelenting power.

Review by: MiamiMovieCritic

Added: 7 years ago

Collateral (not to be confused with Collateral Damage, the terrible Schwarzenegger vehicle) was recently named one of the best films set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years. Certainly few films have captured the city's cultural diversity as well as this one, and the way different locations can only be reached via lengthy car rides. Captured with unprecedented night-vision clarity by high-definition cameras, the city is one of the main characters. It gives the film its gritty texture and raw, unrelenting power.

In a breakthrough, Oscar-nominated performance, Jamie Foxx stars as Max, a no-nonsense cab driver who's saving up to launch his own limo company. One night (the film is set over a 10-hour period), Max is unlucky enough to pick up Vincent (Tom Cruise), a contract killer who's flown into town to take out five targets. Max is to be his unwitting accomplice, but things become complicated when one of Vincent's victims flies out of a window and lands on top of Max's cab.

Stuart Beattie's screenplay is pure pulp fiction – Vincent's targets are all witnesses in a mob trial – but director Michael Mann (Heat, Public Enemies) keeps the film grounded in reality, with authentic performances and you-are-there location shooting. The film is undeniably hip – Mark Ruffalo's last scene in this movie is one of the nastiest surprises I've seen in years – and it includes one of Mann's signature action sequences – a shoot-out at a night club that will leave the audience breathless.

Cruise really came into his own with this film, which was released just a year before his couch-jumping meltdown on Oprah. His Vincent has a definable worldview, and his dialogue in the scenes with Foxx crackles. It's really too bad: he could have gone on to play other villains if he hadn't lost so much credibility with such a large swath of the viewing public.