MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:00 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Tom Cruise, Jada Pinkett Smith
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: DreamWorks / Paramount Pictures
Release Date: 2004
Kiddie Movie: Please leave them at home, unlike the one dad in the theater who had a balling 8 year old on his hands as he was leaving in the middle of the movie.
Date Movie: Bring her along, she might find Tom Cruise not so dreamy this time.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of people get killed.
Action: There’s some running and chasing going on.
Laughs: There’s quite a few good lines.
Memorable Scene: When real estate deal #1 falls on the cab and when Vincent pretends he is a government dude over the taxi CB.
Memorable Quote: Max, to real estate deal #1 on the roof of his cab: “My man, you alright?”
Directed By: Michael Mann

Tom Cruise as the bad guy. There’s a tricky option because women probably won’t want to go and see Tom Cruise being the bad guy, let alone with grey hair, and dudes won’t want to go because, well, it’s Tom Cruise. Dudes and Dudettes, don’t go see this movie because of Tom Cruise, even though he does a great job as the bad guy, go and see this movie because this is the movie that takes Jamie Foxx to that next level on the acting scale.

Tom Cruise is Vincent. He gets hired to kill people. Jamie Foxx is Max. He drives a cab. For his first fare we are introduced to Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith), and we find that true, Max is a cabbie, but yes, he has his sights set on his own limo company, and seems to have a good plan. He’s also a good talker and listener and even gets Annie’s number. Then we meet Vincent, Max’s second fare. Here we find that Max is great at knowing exactly how long it will take to get somewhere. Vincent is impressed with this feat, as well as the cleanliness of Max’s cab, and we also find that Vincent has five places to go, for real estate deals he tells Max, and Max agrees to six or seven hundred dollars to drive Vincent around for the night (technically a no-no in the cabbie world, I finally realize what the “Not For Hire” means on a cab). Luckily for Max, Vincent’s first deal falls out of the window and onto Max’s cab, probably the only reason Max makes it out alive. If you don’t understand this, as you’re watching the movie, listen for the part where one detective brings up another murder case involving a cabbie who goes on a murder rampage and then kills himself. This was probably Max’s initial fate, but with a dead guy on a cab, it’s now time to improvise.

Now it’s a long night in Los Angeles, as Max now knows the fate of each of Vincent’s “real estate deals,” and he’s in a pickle of being murdered, or letting people who are probably bad in their own right, get murdered. In the meantime, we get fantastic conversation between Max and Vincent, especially as the truth of Max’s limo dreams come to light in a fantastic visit to Vincent’s mother. Trust me, this will all make sense as the movie plays out.

Everyone is praising Michael Mann for the great cinematic look of Los Angeles at night, and I do agree, except for one thing. My plea for directors and cinematographers: GET RID OF THE DAMN STEADICAM SHOTS! I understand that as a cab is driving along it hits bumps and bounces around. If I’m in a cab, that’s fine, I can deal with it, but in a movie theater it just makes me nauseous because my seat’s not moving. The same thing when running after people – please bring back the camera on the railroad track thing. Alright, enough of my cinematographic critiquing.

“Collateral” is a great psychological thriller, and Cruise does a great job as the bad guy, in a way because he is sort of likeable. But the key in this movie is Foxx. His portrayal of Max is fantastic. With him driving Annie around, we know he is hitting on her, but his stories to her play off like reality. We see the shear terror when he finds out what he is in for, and his confusion in trying to figure out how to get out of this mess without any innocent people getting killed. Nothing against Tom Cruise in his role, but I think a lot of other actors could have pulled off being Vincent. For me this one is about Jamie Foxx (who also stars as Ray Charles in the upcoming movie “Ray,” which already has Oscar buzz around it).

Sure, this movie gets overblown at times, namely at the nightclub scene and the subway chase, and sure, it’s pretty easy to see the ending of the film, but if you’ve see enough movies, endings usually aren’t a surprise. This, however, is a movie full of tension, with a lot of great lines, and fabulous performances by Cruise, Foxx, and the jazz club owner, Daniel (Barry Shabaka Henley). Hell, even Jada Pinkett Smith was great as the unsure of herself prosecutor.

After leaving “Collateral” I couldn’t help but remember a scene in “Fight Club,” well, kinda remember. There’s a scene where Tyler puts a gun to a guys head, asks him what his dream in life was, asks him why he wasn’t pursuing his dream, then took his driver’s license saying he would be back later and he better be following that dream or he will kill him. He explains that as afraid that man was with a gun to his head, he will wake up the next day on a track to fulfill his dreams. In a weird way, Vincent does the same for Max, as he angrily questions “What the fuck are you still driving a cab?” At that point Vincent and Max’s lives change, and it would have never happened had the first “real estate” deal not landed on Max’s cab.

A great film, but get rid of the jittery scenes. Don’t be afraid about Tom Cruise, he has shown he can tackle any role while you still site there going “Hey, that’s Tom Cruise.” This movie becomes a little bit more, thanks to Mr. Foxx. It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5. Bring the date for the evening show, buy the popcorn and soda-pop, and sit back.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!