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Jeff Nelson

Collateral offers a great concept and executes it well.

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After years of hearing nothing but positive buzz about Michael Mann's Collateral, I eventually gave it a shot. The gritty tone and the interesting story line are the two elements that made me believe this would be straight up my alley. However, looks can be deceiving when it comes to film. There are some movies that viewers need to see for themselves in order to get his or her own opinion. Collateral is surely included as opinions will differ.

Max only took a job as a taxi driver to make ends meet, but is about to have his craziest night yet when he discovers that Vincent, who's just paid him a handsome sum to be driven around all night, is a hit man. Max took the money with an eye on getting out of his dead-end job and opening up his own business, but now it's up to him to keep Vincent's final hit alive. Even though the plot kept my attention from start to finish, it's quite implausible. There are some scenes that feel so unrealistic that it takes away from the atmosphere, although the screenplay is consistently well-written when it comes to dialogue. Max is guaranteed to be the character that most viewers will relate to. However, I found even the cold Vincent to be relatable. The pacing is undeniably smooth and has a very nice buildup. A little bit of steam is lost towards the end of the film, but the buildup makes up for it.

Other than the well-written script, what sets Collateral apart from the average action flick is the acting. Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise are superb. Foxx plays Max and outshines Tom Cruise. His acting feels so natural that audiences will find themselves instantly sympathizing for his character. Foxx rightfully received an Academy Award for his electrifying performance. Cruise represents the deadly Vincent. Even though he isn't as phenomenal as Foxx is in this film, he does an excellent job. Even though Foxx and Cruise receive the most amount of screen time, the entire cast has fantastic chemistry that does the atmosphere wonders.<{> Collateral takes place in the city of Los Angeles. The film takes on a dark atmosphere and never lets go of it. The biggest action sequence takes place in a night club as bullets shoot from each side of the screen. The direction of these scenes is fantastic. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the audio. Even though there are portions of the film that immerse the viewer, the track often sounds thin. During the night club scene, the music sounds way too soft. However, the dialogue is never difficult to hear. The bass fanatics will be disappointed with the LFE output. There are moments of accurate and deep tones coming from the subwoofer, but doesn't shine as it could have. Gunshots don't deliver as much of an impact as I expected. Even though the audio isn't as fantastic as I had hoped, the visuals are great.

Even though it might not be what some audiences were expecting, Collateral is a well-written and engrossing affair. There aren't a lot of films in the genre that engross the audience with its screenplay as this does. The ending is a bit cliché, but it's a small flaw overall. Tom Cruise gives a good performance while Jamie Foxx delivers a highly memorable representation of Max. I definitely enjoyed the movie, but wouldn't identify it as a masterpiece as some have. Collateral offers a great concept and executes it well.

My Rating = Four Stars

Next movie: Unbreakable
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