Tom Cruise is probably best known in the average movie-goer’s mind for blockbuster franchises like Mission Impossible and Top Gun. But, like many actors, he’s also turned in some impressive performances over the years that don’t get near enough of the credit that they deserve. One such example, in my opinion, is new on Netflix this week: It’s Collateral, a 2004 thriller directed by Michael Mann, which sees Cruise play a terrifying, silver-haired hitman named Vincent.
Jamie Foxx is the other lead actor here, playing an ordinary cabbie named Max whom Vincent orders at gunpoint to drive him around LA over the course of a long night. Vincent has several assassinations to complete, and Max inadvertently provides the wheels.
New on Netflix this week: Collateral
Collateral arrives on Netflix on Thursday, September 1, one of what’s already shaping up to be a jam-packed month for new releases on Netflix.
The movie is also as Michael Mann as it gets — macho, nocturnal, and noirish, with a live-wire sadist of a criminal, as well as explosive gunfights that will get your heart pounding like a jackhammer.
One of the most memorable scenes lasts just a few seconds, maybe 10 or 15 in total (going from memory here). It’s the “Yo homie, that my briefcase?” scene, when a couple of strung-out losers steal Vincent’s briefcase (containing material he needs for his killings) out of the back of Max’s cab. Vincent had briefly stepped away, out of frame.
In the span of, as I say, about 10 seconds, Vincent — holding up both hands — waits until one of the two soon-to-be-dead assailants holding a gun gets within point-blank range. Vincent then cooly knocks the gun out of his hand and in the same motion reaches behind his back to pull out his own.
He then eliminates both of the men in a hail of bullets. Before, in fact, either one has had a chance to discharge his own weapon in what perhaps is one of if not the best instance of technically proficient gunplay ever captured on film.
Rotten Tomatoes ratings
Overall, the movie is electric, menacing, and … well, dammit, now I’ve talked myself into wanting to watch it again, given that it’s one of the new releases hitting Netflix later this week.
If you’re curious what others have said about the movie, Collateral currently has a pretty solid 84% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s based on more than a quarter of a million user ratings on the review aggregation site. “A tightly directed game of cat and mouse that showcases one of Tom Cruise’s brilliant but rare villain performances,” one of the most recent reads.
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