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Starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx; Jada Pinkett Smith and Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg, Bruce McGill, Javier Bardem
Screenplay by Stuart Beattie
Directed by Michael Mann

IN SHORT: An August surprise. [Rated R for violence and language. ]

Put Tom Cruise in a silk suit and tell him to crack that award winning smile and team him with funny man Jamie Foxx and then, uh, take away Jamie's funny streak and Tom's smile and sit back for a most surprising movie. "Surprising" because Collateral is being released to kick off the month of August, a time when traditionally as with February, all the crap is cleared out of studio release bays in favor of more substantial fare to come at Oscar wannabe time.

That being said, we love surprises. Collateral is, considering our general lack of enthusiasm for director Michael Mann's movies, Collateral is one enjoyable surprise after another.

Consider it a buddy movie. Vincent (Tom Cruise) is in LA to do some quick business one summer evening. Max (Jamie Foxx) is the lucky cabbie offered hundreds of dollars for exclusive services -- apparently illegal by LA rules, but Vincent isn't about to take "no" for an answer. Once the nature of Max's business becomes clear, and a bloody business it is, Max knows he's deep in the hole -- and he was having such a good night, getting hit on by a fine young US Attorney named Annie Farrell (Jada Pinkett Smith) and all -- just before his life went in the hole.

Don't laugh. As we wrote above, we're not big fans of Mann's other work. We're not so set in our ways that we can't give props. So we are. Big time.

The rest of the important supporting cast includes Jazz club owner Daniel (Barry Shabaka Henley) and Max's mom-in-hospital Ida (Irma P. Hall), soon to become Vincent's card up the sleeve over Max. The latter knows that he needs to get the heck away from the killer and, as the film rolls on, it never drops the ball to hint whether Vincent intends to allow Max to walk away. Don't assume a killing is a done deal. For once, Michael Mann keeps all the balls in the air at the same time, and nothing comes crashing down to wreck the ride.

And while we've not forgotten to send props to Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg and Bruce McGill as the law abiding good guys and drug trafficker Felix (Javier Bardem) who has hired Vincent to take out the witnesses against him, Collateral is all an emotional tightrope walk generated by the tension between Cruise and Foxx.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Collateral, he would have paid . . .


See it.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.