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DVD Review: COLLATERAL

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COLLATERAL

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 120 minutes, director's commentary, documentary, featurettes, deleted scene, production notes, trailers

STUDIO: Dreamworks/Paramount

RELEASE DATE: 12-21-2004

PLOT: A cab driver named Max (Jamie Foxx) picks up Vincent, a hitman, who has 5 stops to make and Max becomes an unwilling hostage. This one night changes both of their lives.

ANALYSIS: What can I say about COLLATERAL? Tom Cruise is perfect as the cold and cool hitman Vincent. The city of Los Angeles becomes a character in this movie as you see LA as you have never seen it before. It makes me wish that Universal would release the short lived ROBBERY HOMICIDE DIDVISION series to DVD (a series executive produced by Mann). Director Michael Mann has made another interesting movie where everything in the movie is needed and nothing is padding as you come to realize this moment and that moment are important to the relationship that forms between Vincent and his unwilling driver, Max. The score by James Newton Howard adds to the atmosphere of COLLATERAL. So the music enhances the city and characters. COLLATERAL is the best movie Michael Mann has directed since HEAT. You've heard it right here from my mouth.

VIDEO/AUDIO: COLLATERAL is presented in 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widscreen. The colors and blacks are uniquely presented as 80 to 90 percent this movie was shot on High Def Digital Video. Image detail is good, but I can see motion does blur when you pause the movie during action scenes.  The transfer isn't bad looking, but I just wonder if a higher bit rate should have been used for the movie itself.

You can hear COLLATERAL in English DTS, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Surround, and French 5.1 DD with the option of English, French, or Spanish subtitles. Dialogue is sharp while the sound effects and music come through quite well.

SPECIAL FEATURES: On disc one is a director's commentary for the movie. He talks about the characters and the advantage of shooting 80 to 90 percent of the movie in High Definition Digital Video. Some material is repeated in the CITY OF NIGHT documentary on disc two.

The majority of the extras are on disc two.

CITY OF NIGHT is a nice 40 minute documentary on the making of COLLATERAL. It covers the making of the movie from pre-production to production of COLLATERAL. Footage of Jamie Foxx talking to cab drivers and Tom Cruise being trained by a former Special Forces guy is shown along with the usual behind the scenes video of the movie's production. They had several taxis they constructed for this movie and even used a crashed taxi.

Also included on disc two are featurettes on Mann rehearsing Cruise and Foxx, a Visual FX featurette on the MTA train set in the climax, a short featurette called Special Delivery where Tom Cruise goes undercover as a UPS man to deliver a package and get into the role of Vincent, and a deleted scene with commentary (I wish it was optional). Beyond that, you get cast and crew bios, production notes with details also covered in the CITY OF NIGHT documentary, and previews for other movies.

The Visual FX featurette on the MTA train shows that the train cars were filmed on a stage with the windows being green screen to allow Mann to change and dictate the scenery that the train passes in the movie.

FINAL ANALYSIS: COLLATERAL is one of director Michael Mann's best films. The DVD has some good extras despite the fact the video could have been just a little bit better for the movie on DVD.

this DVD Review is (c)1-26-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia