Collateral—Paramount Pictures (Blu-ray)

Movie: 4
Picture/Sound: 4/4.5
Extras: 3.5

A taxi driver is unexpectedly taken on the ride of his life in this stylish thriller from acclaimed director Michael Mann. Max is a cab driver who hopes to someday open his own limo company; one night behind the wheel begins promisingly when he picks up Annie, an attorney working with the federal government who is attractive, friendly, and gives him her business card after paying her fare. Max thinks his luck is getting even better when his next fare, Vincent, offers him several hundred dollars in cash if he'll be willing to drop him off, wait, and pick him up at five different spots over the course of the evening. Max agrees, but he soon realizes Vincent isn't just another guy with errands to run - Vincent is an assassin who has been paid to murder five people who could put the leaders of a powerful drug trafficking ring behind bars in an upcoming trial. As circumstances force Max to do Vincent's bidding, the cabbie has to find a way to prevent Vincent from killing again and save his own skin, a task that becomes especially crucial when he discovers Annie is one of the names on Vincent's hit list.

It is no secret that Michael Mann is one of my favorite directors working today. He has a way of drawing you into a film and never letting go. And his ability to control an action sequence is nearly without equal. Collateral is probably one of his best with razor sharp character work and one of the best action sequences of recent memory. Tom Cruise turns in a rare performance as the villain and does a brilliant job with the material. Foxx also impresses in his sophomore outing with the director. If you haven’t seen this yet, do yourself a favor.

This was the first film that Mann shot with digital cameras throughout the entire production. He did some minor work with Ali before this and has shot everything in digital since this one. The picture has a very stylized look that rubs people in different ways. The Blu-ray preserves the look perfectly, but different displays will probably render different results. Personally I’m a fan, but I understand it’s not for everyone. The DTS-HD Master Audio track is superb though with incredible dynamic range and presence. I always love Mann’s musical selections and how much they bring to the film and this is no exception. The action sequences also boast some of the best gun play you’ll find in cinema.

Extras include a feature commentary with the director along with a handful of production features that give you a look into the making of the film and the casting efforts. The trailers are also presented in HD.

I’ve been hoping for this one to hit Blu for some time now and Paramount doesn’t disappoint. Now I’ll just have to wait impatiently for the rest of Mann’s works to hit Blu.

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