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COLLATERAL

A taxi driver has been tricked into chauffeuring a passenger around L.A. on a mission to terminate five people. Guess who's targeted as the sixth hit of the night.

CAST: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg, Javier Bardem, Irma P. Hall, Barry Shabaka Henley, Bruce McGill, Debi Mazar, Jamie McBride, Emilio Rivera, Bodhi Elfman, Daniel Lujan

DIRECTOR: Michael Mann

SCREENWRITER: Stuart Beattie

“The not-so-funny thing is that Tom Cruise is a better samurai in ‘Collateral’ than he was in his last movie, in which he actually played a samurai...It's really his movie all the way...Cruise's savage beauty, that prominent blade of a nose, his tiny, perfect darkness, his athleticism, just a whisper of vanity -- all come into play in what is certainly his best performance since ‘Magnolia.’ The movie that sustains this conceit is terrific, a fever-dream of urban violence, set in a neon nightmare ...‘Collateral’ is the best kind of genre filmmaking: It plays by the rules, obeys the traditions and is both familiar and fresh at once.” –Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

“No crime film in years boasts a cooler vibe than Michael Mann's dazzling Collateral, a head-spinning ride with the devil through a Los Angeles night that gleams with danger. Mann hits a new peak, orchestrating action, atmosphere and bruising humor with a poet's eye for urban darkness...Tom Cruise gives a dynamite performance by undercutting his heroic star image... Foxx fires up the screen with the power and subtlety of a born star. And his teamwork with Cruise is a thing of beauty.” –Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

“The dialogue is fairly ludicrous, the plotting nonsensical, and the mise-en-scene so overdesigned that in one shot the gas pumps are color-coordinated with the cab. But the first part of ‘Collateral’ is magical anyway—the wittiest one-half-of-a-thriller I've seen in years...It's too bad that halfway through, 'Collateral' turns into a series of loud, chaotic, over-the-top action set pieces in which the existentialist Mann proves he's lousy at action...It's lucky that Jamie Foxx gives a terrific performance: The tension between nervous deliberator and the action hero is funny and, against all odds, believable. But Cruise isn't credible for a second.” --David Edelstein, Slate

“The plot of ‘Collateral’ is just a movieish contrivance, and the violence no more than thuggishly casual and chic—that is, very enjoyable. But ‘Collateral’ picks up some genuine weight as this odd couple carry on their weird, terse dialogue...Cruise keeps his gleaming choppers out of sight, doesn’t hog the camera, moves swiftly, and sticks to the character, a bitterly intelligent nihilist who kills nonchalantly, insolently, as if murder were a series of technical problems...As the implacable Vincent takes over Max’s life, Jamie Foxx’s discomfort is both painful and funny...Shot by shot, scene by scene, Mann may be the best director in Hollywood ...'Collateral' comes off like clockwork, but it’s a clock that breathes.” --David Denby, The New Yorker

“‘Collateral’ is a crime picture as a species of horror film, and as is often the case with Mann’s films...Mann and his gifted screenwriter, Stuart Beattie, don’t make the mistake of turning ‘Collateral’ into a deep-dish buddy movie: The chasm between Max and Vincent is unbridgeable, and even though each opens up a little to the other, it’s a dance of death...The film is studded with luminous supporting performances...But most of the time we are with Cruise and Foxx, and their interplay is never less than galvanizing.” --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

“This joy ride, of course, is nothing more than a fine excuse for Mann to blow us away with a string of exquisitely orchestrated shootouts...But after an hour and a half of this, one feels jittery, enervated and unable to focus on the relationship unfolding between the cracks of the gunplay...‘Collateral’ will doubtless go down in film history as the noir marvel it undoubtedly is, but I don’t quite buy its characters, and I came out of the theater still wondering what it had to say.” –Ella Taylor, LA Weekly

“Because Mr. Mann makes thrillers the way that John Ford made westerns, using genre as a way into meaning rather than as an escape, ‘Collateral’ bears little relation to the usual Hollywood blowout...A portrait of radically different souls clinging to radically different paths, ‘Collateral’ hinges on the moment when fate intersects with choice...Mr. Foxx can't have had an easy time playing foil to the world's biggest movie star, but he holds his own gracefully. For his part, Mr. Cruise, whose famous self-discipline has helped turn him into a bankable personality and a less-than-believable regular guy, makes Vincent scarily convincing.” --Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

“A perfect vehicle for director Michael Mann's highly stylized gifts. He has always been a creature of the night (‘Thief,’ ‘Heat’), to which he habitually imparts a high-gloss shine that's at once chilly and seductive ... at his best, Mann wears his hipness easily. It works particularly well in ‘Collateral,’ which has a nice minimalist quality about it — just these two increasingly edgy guys, their car and the people they encounter...this is a movie that manages somehow to fuse ordinary reality and more or less believable fantasy in a very insinuating way. ” --Richard Schickel, Time Magazine

“Mann vividly captures the nocturnal pulse of East L.A. in this taut, confined game of cat and mouse. In the homestretch the thrills get too generic and farfetched for their own good. But the first two thirds are a knockout.” –David Ansen, Newsweek

"‘Collateral’ is preposterous without being much fun...it would be a juicy B-movie if Michael Mann hadn't overdirected all the good, healthy pulp out of it...this is the sort of tough little thriller Mann should toss off with ease. Instead it gets sillier and more formulaic with each scene...Do we buy the star as a hit man? Of course not, but we enjoy his impersonation of one: the barked Hemingway-isms, the instinctive gunplay, the way he thinks his Zen-predator shtick gives him the right to give Max advice.” –Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

“Mann is working in a genre with ‘Collateral,’ as he was in ‘Heat’ (1995), but he deepens genre through the kind of specific detail that would grace a straight drama... Mann allows dialogue into the kind of movie that many directors now approach as wall-to-wall action. Action gains a lot when it happens to convincing individuals, instead of to off-the-shelf action figures...This is a rare thriller that's as much character study as sound and fury.” –Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Considering all of the garbage Tom Cruise has dumped on us in recent years, it’s a thrill just to see him in a role neither safe nor heroic, in which the phony plastic smile that turned him into Julia Roberts with gonads has all but disappeared. Yes, he can act... The final chase scene is too contrived, too breathless and much too long, as though Mr. Mann suddenly decided that the movie up to this point has been quiet and studied long enough and now it’s time to kick some ass....Still, the strengths in 'Collateral' outnumber the flaws.” –Rex Reed, The New York Observer

“Tom Cruise is practically unrecognizable in ‘Collateral’...there are times when you actually forget it is Cruise who is playing Vincent...Cruise invests him with an air of demonic, seductive danger that makes him much more intriguing than a mere bad guy...‘Collateral’ is a small, modest movie writ large by people so talented, they aren't capable of anything less.” –Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

“The whole movie is something of a joke, a feature-length prank that mixes stark violence and shock humor in the mold of Quentin Tarantino's ‘Pulp Fiction’...The tension between the cold-blooded killer and the warm-blooded taxi driver is the whole point of the film, and odd though the casting seems, Cruise and Foxx play it beautifully...even its predictability is made forgivable by the performances of the two stars and the pace of the action.” –Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

“While Tom Cruise is properly menacing as a gray-haired hit man, Michael Mann's stylish -- if predictable – thriller really belongs to Jamie Foxx...Cruise wields his killer charm so expertly that moviegoers may well forgive his cardboard heroics in ‘The Last Samurai,’ even if Vincent essentially remains a cipher whose one revealing speech -- about how he was abused as a child -- feels like something that was added at the star's request.” –Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"It's straight-up entertainment, not something to see and then talk about a month later, but definitely something to enjoy...The movie never fails. It never deepens, either, never plays with the premise or goes somewhere unexpected, but it's always satisfying.” –Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle