Collateral

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DreamWorks presents a film directed by Michael Mann. Written by Stuart Beattie. Running time: 119 minutes. Rated R (for violence and language).

 

Now for the moment (or movie) you’ve all been waiting for…Tom Cruise. His name usually appears before the title of the film because you obviously don’t give a shit about the title of the movie or who directed it or wrote, only that you will be seeing a film that stars Tom Cruise. My brother keeps insisting that the next film I write be titled Tom Cruise, because whether he’s in the film or not, people will go see it. But here’s a question. What if we do get Tom for this? How will we differentiate, on the poster, between the title of the film and the star? We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

 

In the mean time lets examine Collateral. What we call in Hollywood, a real high concept idea. A hitman takes a taxi to kill five people in the middle of the night. Doesn’t sound like a high concept to you, how ‘bout this? We’ve signed Tom Cruise to star. Alright, now we’re on the same page. This film starts out great. We get a nice little introduction to Jamie Foxx’s character, driving his cab and picking up none other than Mrs. Will Smith JADA PICKETT-SMITH. Or as I like to refer to her, that chick who gets killed at the beginning of Scream 2. The dialogue and performances between these two is absolutely adorable. You just want Jamie to take this girl home with him and end the movie with a little nod to Jamie’s previous work Booty Call. Either that or take Jada home yourself. Either way, the scene plays as very quiet and very sweet and you see Mrs. Smith’s best work to date.

 

And then Tommy Cruise gets in the cab. This is where advertising and previews and the lack of creativity involved really chaps my ass. That is because up until now you have no idea that Tom is a hitman. So when he drops a body on the taxi, excuse me, the bullets drop body on the taxi you could have been really surprised, but instead you’re the guy sitting two rows down from me being very impatient for the body counter to start counting. The action in this film is pretty kick ass, but it’s not the bulk of this film. This film was relying solely on its dialogue to save it. Some of it was good, but for the most part it was two good actors doing their best to spit dialogue that is completely expected rather than fresh and inventive. That’s why this film didn’t work for me. No ingenuity. And it borrows from completely unrelated films. Rear Window and Speed. These two references come late in the film, where I think the writer ran out of ideas and took a reasonably good performance film and turned it into shit. Up until the last half hour this film had a real and quite eerie feeling to it. What ruins it is characters saying and doing things they just wouldn’t do. How do I know they wouldn’t do these things? Because I know everything. If you knew everything I’d be reading your reviews, but as luck would have it, you know nothing and I know everything. And beside the point whether or not a character would do something is entirely based on the performance and the script. They set up the reality, no matter how far fetched and it’s up to everything else to sell the emotions. In this case I wasn’t sold that the mild mannered Jamie Foxx would do what every, any day man in extreme circumstances, has done in other films, which is tackle the officer trying to arrest him, tie him up and then proceed to stop the bad guy single handedly because the cops (just like parents in a Will Smith song) just don’t understand. The reference to Speed is this. After Neo…I mean Jack, gets everyone off the bus, the bus explodes and he gets Sandy Bullocks digits, but the bad guys is still on the loose. This leads to the obligatory chase on a train. Why a train? Why not a train? It’s faster than the bus. Possibility for decapitation is highly greater. Now the reason for Collateral climaxing, if you can call it that, on the train is not without purpose, it just, in my opinion, did not work. For a film that was presented with a very real tone to end so poetically is just plain stupid. Which really only makes the end of Speed that much more creditable. Somewhere Jan de Bont is waving and smiling and thanking Michael Mann for this gratification.

 

And what a nice image to end with.

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~ by fumikaelson on August 12, 2004.

2 Responses to “Collateral”

  1. Keanu Reeves looked so hot in that movie Speed!!

  2. Tell me something. Did you see this ending coming in the preview?

    Tom Cruise in another cookie cutter movie!!

    P.S
    I love you Tom I dont care what they say about your sexaul preference.

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