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Movie Review: Collateral

Alternate Title: Taxi Driver (other titles could be A Hard Day's Night
or Strangers in the Night)

Story: Fasten your seat belts -- it is going to be a bumpy ride. Director Michael Mann (The Insider) and writer Stuart Beattie deliver a fast paced, atmospheric entertaining summer roller coaster of a film.

Minding his own business, night driving Los Angeles cabbie Max Durocher picks up Vincent and his life is forever changed. Vincent is a sociopath hitman (do you think there are any hit men who aren't sociopaths)? His job is to kill five drug informants in one evening. Things do not go exactly according to plan. There is lots of action, interesting dialogue, gorgeous cinematography of LA at night and strong performances.

There are also huge plot holes and improbabilities but there was so much else that was good in the film I did not care about those deep chasms.

Acting: Tom Cruise does 'bad guy' really well. He should stick to playing the baddie from now on. I have not enjoyed a performance by him as much since seeing him in Magnolia. Jamie Foxx (Ali) gives a strong performance as well and I think he will have a long career ahead of him. The buzz is that his upcoming Ray performance (Ray Charles) is terrific. Javier Bardem (my very favorite of all actors) is wonderful in a small but powerful role. Jada Pickett Smith is fine in the most improbably plot line of all. A fine small performance by am almost unrecognizable Mark Ruffalo also works.

Predilection: I like director Michael Mann's work and I will see anything with Javier Bardem.

Critters: Thankfully, none.

Food: A sandwich that ends up on the taxi floor.

Visual Art: The LA nightscape is very appealing.

Soundtrack: A good track that worked well with the story line.

Opening Titles: All titles at the end.

Theater Audience: Crowded for an afternoon show and overwhelmingly male.

Squirm Scale: 0

Predictability Level: High

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: It could have been edited a bit more. It seemed too long even under the two hour rule.

Big Screen or Rental: Definitely the big screen for the full effect. If you are not familiar with Javier Bardem please rent: Los Lunes al Sol, The Dancer Upstairs and the most wonderful, Before Night Falls.

Length: Under two hours.

LOBO HOWLS: 7