Movie night… Collateral (2004)

Collateral (film)

Collateral (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s official. I’m a hoarder. Not quite as bad as the folks on that reality show but I’m definitely running out of space for my stuff and have absolutely no good reason to buy more… but I’m not letting that stop me from adding to my piles. 500+ paperbacks, 20 long boxes of comics, stacks of magazines (pulps, girlie, graphic novels & others), 1000+ DVDs, etc., etc., etc.

I’m trying to organize this mess but it’s something of a chore. I’ve bought things, stuck ’em in a box with other things and forgotten about ’em. When picking through my junk looking for paperbacks, in an effort to segregate, consolidate & organize, I found that I’d tossed some paperbacks in a box with DVDs. My tiny attention span diverted my book hunt to a movie hunt and I began perusing the disks as if I were at a flea market, digging for treasure in someone else’s stash. Which brings me to the first movie in the box that I remember enjoying…. Collateral… a favorite that I haven’t seen for quite some time so I decided to take a break from the books and watch it.

Collateral (2004) stars Tom Cruise & Jamie Foxx and is directed by Michael Mann. Cruise plays a hitman that forces a cabbie, Foxx, to drive him around LA so that he can fulfill his contract. Cruise is fantastic as Vincent, a cold, calculating, remorseless killer. I’m not a big Tom Cruise fan but I have to admit, I don’t think anyone could’ve done a better job. Foxx earned an Oscar nomination and is outstanding as Max, an everyman cab driver, biding his time in the trenches until he’s able to afford his dream of running his own limo service.

English: Michael Mann at a "master-class&...

English: Michael Mann at a “master-class” at the French Cinematheque (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mann wastes no time or film with this one. Every shot that’s there should be there which, I suppose, says as much about the editing as it does about the direction. This film, along with the great heist flick Heat, shows what Mann is capable of.

This wasn’t intended as Cruise vehicle. He’s not a sympathetic character but he is charismatic (well… as charismatic as a prematurely-graying psychopath can be). There’s no evidence of Ethan Hunt, Maverick or Jerry Maguire in Vincent. Cruise owns the role and, despite the fine acting of Foxx, makes the movie. Don’t get me wrong. Foxx does a damn good job and deserves all the accolades he’s gotten for the role.

The supporting cast is pretty good, too. Jada Pinkett Smith portrays an prosecutor that befriends Max and happens to be one of Vincent’s intended targets. Mark Ruffalo & Peter Berg are cops on the trail of Vincent & Max. There are a few surprise appearances along the way. Javier Bardem, future Oscar winner for his role in No Country For Old Men, makes his Hollywood debut in a brief role as Vincent’s employer. Jason Statham, of The Transporter franchise, makes a cameo appearance.

I’m not one to spoil the story so, if you have a chance to see Collateral, don’t miss it. It’s better than 95% (not a scientific estimate… just a number I threw out) of the crap Hollywood is spitting out these days. I’d forgotten just how good it was. I’m glad I dug it out.

*Get it at*

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