The Tax Collector (2020) RLJ Entertainment 10/6/2020
Directed By: David Ayer
Starring: Bobby Soto, Shia LaBeouf, Cinthya Carmona, Jose Conejo Martin, George Lopez
Director David Ayer directed the infamously panned but somehow popular enough for a sequel, Bright. I am morbidly curious about The Tax Collector his latest outing. The film centers around a group of men that "collect tax" off of drug sales and other vice business. When a rival gang blows into town they threatens the safety of their families and loved ones. Now its a battle for pride, family and way of life.
So, here's the thing, I think Ayer actually does have a cool naturalist style and the movie isn't badly directed. Make no mistake though, everything you heard about this movie is true, its not good. It's strange that the same person that wrote Training Day (2001) and The Fast and the Furious (2001) and also wrote the mess that was Suicide Squad and this film. What's frustrating is the film is such an uninspired mish-mash of other gangland films yet never finds its own voice. It also feels like a slog with lots of filler that doesn't serve to move the plot forward or develop characters. Also, it feels like Ayer tries to develop his characters but in the end everybody offs of shallow and lacking depth. It's a shame because I could actually see a good movie but Ayer who also wrote this, sinks his own film like a stone with bland, predictable, stereotypical nonsense. I think the other reason this movie fails is everybody is terrible and its hard to root or relate with them. Yes, its possible to make fiction characters that are monsters really likable. This movie doesn't and we are given zero reasons to like let alone care for anyone in Tax Collector.
Maybe this all could be forgiven had the film swung a little bigger and really went full force into absurd action it may have at least made it enjoyable. The acting is actually not too bad, listen its not stellar and everybody seems not quite on the same page acting wise, but its solid. Bobby Soto is uneven as hell and he tries hard to play leading man but it doesn't work. Its kind of baffling as Soto seems to have only done bit parts up until now. Shia LaBeouf surprisingly is fascinating in this. Sure he's just as uneven as everybody else but at least he never allows himself to go full hammy and plays it like a John Wick type. Probably a very smart move on his part. Since I always try and something nice to say, the movie is well shot with nice pretty good practical gore effects.
Sadly, we arent done with David Ayer as he is set to write and direct Bright 2. How he still manages to get work is beyond me but maybe his early hits have earned him enough good will to to land big gigs. I gave this movie a fair shake but obviously the writing was all over the wall for this not being good. This movie wants so bad to big this big sweeping gangster epic about love and family, duty and business but it's just feels so unoriginal with clearly suspect writing and acting.
Picture: Say what you will about the film itself but the picture looks very good. It's probably a good assumption this was shot on digital so the 1080p upload looks very nice. Everything has a crisp clean nice look to it. As I said I thought the film had good visuals if nothing else and this is certainly highlighted.
Sound: Tax Collector has a nice DTS 5.1 Soundtrack. Sound effects and design come through really nice and strong. Dialogue also comes through nicely. Altogether, in my opinion a very solid track.
Extra: The only feature is some deleted scenes. Total runtime is 12 minutes.