Sunday, February 27, 2011


(August 2004, U.S.)

Do you know what Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner and Tom Cruise have in common? The three of them have consistently played the nice guy, the good guy or the hero that you cheer for. However, they've all at one time gone against the grain and played the vicious bad guy that somehow you still can't help but like anyway. Ford had his WHAT LIES BENEATH (2000), Costner had his MR. BROOKS (2007) and Cruise had his COLLATERAL.

You may remember that I've previously stated that I have this shameful irresistable weakness for most of Tom Cruise's film. I have to confess that watching him play a fast-talking vicious killer just sends me over the top. I mean, fuck it - the guy is good at playing the role! Vincent (played by Cruise) hails Max's (played by Jamie Foxx) taxi cab, explaining that he's in town for one night to close a real estate deal and bribes Max with seven hundred dollars on the pretense of chauffeuring him to his five appointments. As Max waits at the first stop, Vincent enters an apartment complex and shoots a drug dealer who ends up falling out of the window directly onto the cab, forcing Vincent to reveal himself as a professional hitman. He coerces Max to hide the body in the trunk and continue with their arrangement. Thus, their night together begins and one by one, the bodies start to pile up. What's strange is that you don't seem to feel one ounce of pity for any of the victims. In fact, when Vincent unexpectedly shoots two Los Angeles punks in order to get his valuable briefcase back, you actually feel great watching two muggers get it in the end, Charles Bronson "Death Wish" style (I do, anyway!). By the end, though, when we find out that the final hit is a young attractive, female U.S. Justice Department prosecutor, you switch over into classic cliche mode and you want the hero cab driver to save the girl and see the killer beaten. That all happens and dawn slowly creeps in on the city as a new day begins and we all live happily ever after.

This is a Michael Mann film, by the way, and if you've seen some of his other films like THIEF (1981), MANHUNTER (1986) and HEAT (1995) then you know how the director can not only capture the raw intensity of his protaganist characters, but also of the city they live in itself. James Caan, William Peterson, Al Pacino, Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx - all great actors who can call themselves just a little bit greater under Mann's direction.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Vincent: "Max, six billion people on the planet, you're getting bent out of shape cause of one fat guy."
Max: "Well, who was he?"
Vincent: "What do you care? Have you ever heard of Rwanda?"
Max: "Yes, I know Rwanda."
Vincent: "Well, tens of thousands killed before sundown. Nobody's killed people that fast since Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Did you bat an eye, Max?"
Max: "What?"
Vincent: "Did you join Amnesty International, Oxfam, Save the Whales, Greenpeace, or something? No. I off one fat Angelino and you throw a hissy fit!"

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