Reviewed by: Evan D. Baltz
|Crime Action Drama
|Year of Release:
August 6, 2004 (wide)
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|DreamWorks Pictures, aka DreamWorks Studios, a production label of Amblin Partners
“It started like any other night.”
Do you believe in “cosmic coincidences”? Hold that thought for a minute. We’ll get back to that question.
Tom Cruise (“Minority Report”) stars in yet another blockbuster movie, but this time as the bad guy. Usually the mega-superstar appears as the hero or good guy in his movies. Only occasionally has he summoned the dark side persona. Audiences probably prefer their stars to be heroes, but in this film, Cruise proves he is quite adept at pulling off cold and calculating.
Cruise stars as Vincent, the assassin for hire. His unwilling accomplice is a meticulous but under achieving taxi driver (Max), played by Jamie Foxx (former comedic star of television shows “In Living Color” and “The Jamie Foxx Show”). Foxx begins his evening cab shift like any other night. He happens to pick up prosecuting attorney Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith — “Matrix Revolutions”). The two hit it off during a discussion over fastest cab routes in LA. Annie leaves her business card with Max as she exits the cab, just in case he ever needs “legal advice.”
It turns out he needs a lot more than that. Max’s next fair turns out to be Vincent, who offers Max $600 to drive him around for the night while Vincent “makes a few stops.” Max soon learns that Vincent is doing more than glad-handing some old friends.
Cruise plays Vincent with cold-hearted glee. He is smooth and controlled, and very believable as the character. Foxx is also strong in this serious role. Cruise’s presence rarely over-shadows Foxx’s character, which gives the movie balance.
We feel as if events are happening almost in real-time as the two travel from stop to stop. Each one brings a new set of twists and turns. Vincent engages Max in discussions as they drive as each character attempts to figure out the other. Vincent’s take on life is that it doesn’t really matter. If one person dies, who cares? Thousands of people die in far off places every day and no one bats an eyelash, so why should his job bother people any more than that. Especially in LA. He recounts a story about a guy dying on a train, and no one noticing for days. Vincent is indifferent about life. This is just a job. What does any of it matter? We are just a speck, lost in space.
So is it a cosmic coincidence that brought Vincent to Max’s cab? Is there such a thing? In movies there sure is. In real life? No such thing. In fact, no such concept is alluded to in all of Scripture. Everything is under the control of a totally Sovereign God. Even the comings and goings of sparrows are under the control and supervision of God. There are no coincidences in God’s plan. It may seem that way from man’s perspective. But not from God’s.
In movies, however, especially in this one, it appears there are cosmic coincidences.
There isn’t unfortunately a coincidental use of harsh language. There are 50 plus instances of 4-letter type words, and the Lord’s name is taken in vain about a half-dozen times. Generally, however, these utterances were not out of context for the characters and situations. These are bad guys after all. There is a good deal of violence, including graphic up-close assassinations. There is no nudity or sexual content in the movie.
Cruise is Cruise. It was nothing less than what you would expect from him. Solid, intense, sharp-witted. We are even treated to the requisite scene of Tom Cruise running at full speed, which seems to be as ubiquitous in Cruise movies as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “I’ll be back” line.
The movie is more about the Foxx character, however. He is the “everyman” reluctant hero, and his character feels well developed. But who will win in the end? Max, Vincent, LAPD, the FBI, or the drug lords? This is a good, exciting mystery that will hold your attention. It does reflect our society’s apparent steady decline towards apathy and indifference for our fellow man and life itself. Be thankful your life is in the hands of a caring and Sovereign Lord, and not left to the fates of cosmic coincidences.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: None