Director: David Ayer
Cast: Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona, Shia LaBeouf
Release Date: October 6, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
David (Bobby Soto) and Creeper (Shia LaBeouf), are “tax collectors” for the crime lord Wizard, collecting his cut from the profits of local gangs’ illicit dealings. But when Wizard’s old rival returns to Los Angeles from Mexico, the business is upended, and David finds himself desperate to protect what matters more to him than anything else: his family.
‘The Tax Collector’ tells the story of David (Soto) a tax collector for a local crime boss named Wizard who by day makes his way throughout the city with the help of his trusted friend and enforcer Creeper (LaBeouf) collecting fees from the various gangs and dealers operating within his area and dealing out the brutal repercussions for those who fail to provide. At night David leaves his criminal life behind and enjoys his family life with his wife Alexis (Carmona) and their children. But when a new and unforgiving criminal element surfaces in the city trying to take over Wizard’s turf, David finds his protection threatened and his family put in danger. Now he and Creeper will have to find a way to eliminate this dangerous new threat before it’s too late.
Written and directed by notable filmmaker David Ayer (End of Watch, Suicide Squad) who does a solid job for the most part at the helm of ‘The Tax Collector’ guiding along the tense and occasionally quite graphic action and chaos, albeit losing some of the impact due to a script that doesn’t play out as smooth as we might hope. The film also features a decent cast that includes Bobby Soto (The Quarry), Cinthya Carmona (TV’s Greenhouse Academy), George Lopez (Meet the Blacks) and Shia LaBeouf (The Peanut Butter Falcon) along with more, with most delivering capable performances for the most part in each of their respective roles, even if LaBeouf is the real gem within and unquestionably the film’s stand out performance, easily dominating every scene he occupies.
‘The Tax Collector’ is a tense, brutal and entertaining ride through the underground of the Los Angeles criminal world that explores the unforgiving nature of the business and what our lead is forced to do in order to keep his head above water. Aside from the violent chaos that goes hand in hand with the world, the film largely focuses on the key character’s struggle to keep his two worlds separate from each other in contrast to his partner who accepts his choices and has his feet firmly planted in the bloodshed. While never hiding his career from his significant other, he clearly makes a point of balancing his life between two drastically different worlds and when some unfortunate and unexpected events occur, he quickly realizes that it was never something that would work forever as he must fight to simultaneously remove the problem while trying to protect those he loves who are now anything but safe.
The film keeps things quite engaging throughout, although it occasionally finds itself struggling to provide a balance between its focuses while the story also tends to become a bit predictable or nonsensical here and there as it struggles to find its footing and settle into a groove, instead merely tossing out a combination of various elements in a manner that’s frequently anything but smooth. Fortunately due to Ayer’s ability to capture this world with all of its grimy aspects and never pulling his punches when things get gritty, along with a noteworthy performance by Shia LaBeouf who is splendidly eerie in his portrayal of Creeper, the violent enforcer who thoroughly enjoys the grimier aspects of his job, the film does have quite a bit going for it and certainly isn’t the complete disappoint some seem to see it as. Fans of Ayer’s work or of similarly natured films will definitely still want to give this one a chance in order to make up their own minds.
Overall, ‘The Tax Collector’ is a brutal, enjoyable ride and a gnarly crime saga in its own right that never pulls its punches or takes the pleasant route. Even while the film may not be perfect, it’s not nearly as horrid as many would lead you to believe and I would definitely encourage fans of gritty crime films or of filmmaker David Ayer’s work in general (as well as dedicated fans of the key cast, particularly LaBeouf who delivers the film’s stand out performance) to try and give ‘The Tax Collector’ a chance whenever you can find the time. Some may be understandably hesitant to drop the money on a blind purchase of the film, but it should at least be worth ninety minutes of your time and the cost of a rental for anyone even slightly intrigued by it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Tax Collector’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks great altogether and delivers a sharp, smooth and richly detailed presentation that never suffers from any notable faults or issues along the way. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving action sequences throughout, never resulting in anything occurring onscreen becoming negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation complimented by a more than adequate bitrate that shouldn’t have any trouble pleasing fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack serves up a clean, crisp and consistently aggressive audio presentation throughout that never disappoints. It repeatedly takes full advantage of all five available channels in order to send bullets and debris whipping throughout the various speakers, along with vehicle activity, nature elements and crowd chatter, plus more. All while making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously never become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a great 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way necessary and then some, while repeatedly adding some additional fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Tax Collector’ includes one extra in the form of a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 12 minutes in length combined).