There is more character development in the first five minutes of Collateral that the whole putrid mess of AVP. It’s fast, it’s smart, it’s good to look at, the music rocks. I applaud Tom Cruise for taking the role of a very, very bad man, though an interesting one.
… though not much of one, since you can see this stuff coming from a light-year away. All action movies these days end the same way: by going way too far. I don’t know if it’s studio wonks looking at some sort of analysis, sheer chicken-heartedness, or, in the case of Collateral, star ego. Here’s the deal:
Vincent, the killer, has a gun pointed at the girl. All through the movie he hasn’t hesitated. He points, he shoots. Now he waits as bit. Why? So Max, the mild-mannered cab driver can point a gun at Vincent’s head and tell him to put the gun down. Now comes the obligatory line: “You don’t have the nerve to shoot me.” Or Vincent takes the gun away, and the movie stretches another 20 minutes. In this case, Vincent says, “What are you going to do with that?” What Max does is shoot him, point blank.
Whoa!!! But …
In a minute Vincent is back up. There’s blood on the side of his neck. He’s chasing them again, running like an Olympic 100-meter man. Ho-hum. We got through some pointless hugger-mugger with a train. At least it’s not on top of the train, how many times have you seen that one recently? All this, basically, so Tom Cruise can have the last line, and die with a semblance of dignity, instead of having his brains scattered all over the place when Max shoots him from a distance of two feet and manages only to nick him.
The honest place to end the movie was when Max shot. Only you can’t do that anymore. Maybe you never could. Oh, well, it wasn’t too bad.