"I just shot him. The bullets and the fall killed him". This is a quote that hitman Vincent truly believes in the masterfully shot and acted film by Michael Mann, Collateral.
Vincent, played by Tom Cruise, is a hitman who's in town for just one night with five stops to make. Max played by Jamie Foxx is a man who's stuck in the gig as a cab driver never the wiser picks up Vincent thinking he's just another fare. Vincent needs a driver for the night and when he offers him five hundred plus another hundred if he gets him to the airport on time, it's an offer that Max can't refuse.
To me there are three essential characters in this film. There's Vincent, Max, and the city of Los Angeles. The entire film is shot in digital, at night, in LA, and as we all know, Michael Mann is the king of digital night shots. He uses some of the most gritty downtown alleyways I've ever seen in a film like this. On the dvd special features "behind the scenes" there's a part where Cruise is actually talking about how they were all a little scared to be filming in these areas, but Mann knew he needed them to make the film believable. He really gives the viewer the feel of a new type of LA. We're so used to seeing the Beverly Hills glamour shots or the Santa Monica Pier, but here we're blessed with the opportunity to see the real downtown LA on a night that Vincent, Max, nor the viewer will ever forget.
"Max! I do this for a living!" Tom Cruise went through months of physical hand to hand combat training as well as hands on gun training to prepare for the role of the villainous Vincent. There's another great "behind the scenes" section on the dvd that shows all the training that he went through. It shows Cruise at the gun range doing somersaults through the grass and popping up firing at targets looking like an absolute pro. He learned how to unload and reload as quickly as possible to be able to kill four guys at the same time if duty ever called....and it does. To me this kind of dedication to a role really pays off in the end as it turned out to be one of Cruises best roles in his career.
Collateral is the story of a killer. A killer who believes it's his job, because THAT'S what he was hired to do. Is he wrong to assume this?? Is he wrong to want to be the best at what he does and make no mistakes?? Is there some understanding to this man, to this killer?? Is there ANY good in him?? These are just some of the questions that are asked and answered in Collateral. This is a dvd that will never get old in my collection. I give it 4 outa 5.