Friday, March 04, 2005

Drop the flag... and a witness or two

So what's cooler than a movie where a taxi driver picks up a hitman? How about if that movie is a character-driven action film? Starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx? You know what I'm talking about, right? Collateral. And it's frickin' brilliant.

Slick and perfectly paced, it pulses in one part and smoothly expands on character the next. There is a clear sense of growing danger throughout the movie as Vincent (Cruise) goes about his rounds and Max (Foxx) tries to foil him. Sort of. He also manages to grow a pair, too.

Throw in a bunch of trigger-happy feds, some narco-terrorists and one lone LAPD Detective who knows that Max is innocent when everyone else thinks he's the hitman. Oh, and the fight/action sequences are brilliant. Vincent's style is efficient and brutal, with a couple of limbs giving way under his vicious blows. And Cruise really knows how to handle his firearms too. No surprise, really, given that the technical advisor was Mick Gould, the guy who worked on Ronin and Replacement Killers.

But it's not just the shootings and beatings that make this movie (cool as they are). It's also the excellent acting from the leads (and their supporting cast), helped by a polished and often laugh-out-loud funny script. We applauded for Vincent on more than one occasion and Max's threat to the goons in the Rodeo club is perfectly worded and delivered.

All in all, Collateral gets four and a half gunned-down muggers.


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