Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Michael Mann's Collateral (2004) Paramount Pictures UHD Review!

Collateral (2004) Paramount Pictures 12/8/2020

Directed By: Michael Mann

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg

Disclaimer: Paramount Pictures has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 


    Michael Mann has had an a interesting career. In the '80's he would come out of the gate swinging with films like The Keep (1983), Thief (1981) and Manhunter (1986). In the '90's he would hone his skills with Oscar winning films like The Last of the Mohicans (1992) and the acclaimed Heat (1995), which is considered among the best film of the decade. But the 00's seems to be not as kind as Miami Vice (2006) and Public Enemies (2009) and Blackhat (2015) didn't fare as well. Currently, Mann hasn't made a film in five years. 04's Collateral is considered his final film that earned the kind of critical praise of his heyday. Max (Jamie Foxx) is a typical cab driver when he picks up Vincent (Tom Cruise) a seemingly normal fare. However, Vincent is a high-level hit man and Max soon finds himself way over his head in this early '00's crime thriller. One thing that Mann is famous for is his unique sense of style which, is gritty and violent but also has a air of cool to it. Collateral strips away the neon Miami world of Michael Bay for a darker more realistic take on L.A, yet it still has something alluring about it. As cliched as it sounds Mann makes the city a character in how he shots it and uses locales to set the mood. When talking about perfectly cast movies I don't think this ever gets mentioned but I really cannot see anybody else in the two lead roles. Once you strip away the antics there really is no denying that Tom Cruise has that razzle-dazzle of a movie-star. Cruise plays Vincent with just the right amount of charm, menace and conviction that, dare I say brings with it a lot of sub-text to his character. On the flipside, Oscar winner Jamie Foxx also brings a wide range of acting talents and, like Cruise, brings so much more than what's on the page in terms of Max. Bringing this pair together is really something special and the two perfectly play off of one another. Shout out to an amazing supporting cast including Jada Pinkett Smith and a pre-MCU Mark Ruffalo with chivalrous slicked back hair.

     I honestly think the plot is not really the most ground breaking or being more brutally honest even that interesting yet it works despite this. This is because the action is really a MacGuffin for the real driving force, which is two polar opposite characters colliding one fateful night. And (though Vincent to a lesser degree) both men shape the other's worldview. It's really Max that has the best arc and I like how his role is written. For example, I like how Max is a character that could have easily ended up just drifting along with the plot (seeing how he literally drives Vincent around) yet the Mann gives him a lot of agency not just in the finale but throughout the film. He makes choices that inform his personality but also charts his growth as passive to take charge. Couple this with Mann effortlessly crafting cool action-set pieces (which never go full Michael Bay) and grounded world building and you have a pretty good film. Not without it's flaws but overall a solid watch and a refreshing spin on the crime-thriller genre.


Picture: Mann certainly as a style and Collateral's UHD release shows it off. The films opening scene is incredibly grainy yet, I'm happy to report this seemed to smooth. Overall the grain is really smooth and consistent throughout. Images are razor sharp and retails a great deal of detail and texture in clothes, hair, locales etc. This movie takes place mostly at night and I think this is really where you start to see the full strength of this upgrade. Things also thankfully never feel over-processed.

Sound: Collateral sports a DTS 5.1 track. I have to say that this was a really well handled sound experience. Sound effects and sound design have, in my opinion a layered robust quality. Dialogue comes through nicely with no drop out issues. Overall, a stellar sound track. 

Extras: Collateral has a nice collection of bonus features. Such as: Audio Commentary with Michael Mann, Some featurettes: City of Night: The Making of Collateral, Special Delivery. Also included is Deleted Scenes (w/ commentary), Shooting on Location: Annie's Office, Tom Cruise & Jamie Foxx Rehearse and Visual FX: MTA Train. 

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