Volume 17 • Issue 15 | SEPTEMBER 3 - 10, 2004


“Collateral” (+)
Many of the events in this flick are improbable and some are impossible; nevertheless, it is well done. The acting, locales, and the energy created by the music add up to a great joy ride for the audience.

Max (Jamie Foxx) is a taxi driver in Los Angeles. Vincent (Tom Cruise) offers him $600 to drive him to five locations that evening. What Max doesn’t know is that Vincent is a hired killer seeking to knock off five witnesses in a pending drug trial. When Max soon learns of the plot, Vincent threatens to kill him if he doesn’t continue with their agreement.

Each of the murders is interestingly done, and a meeting with an intermediate drug lord, Felix (Javier Bardem), is extremely well done. Detective Fanning (Mark Ruffalo) figures out what is happening and is soon on Vincent’s trail. The acting is terrific, particularly that of Ruffalo and Bardem. The musical beat at the nightclub is sensational in its pulsating rhythms.

One of the impossible moments in the film is Tom Cruise doing the equivalent of a four-minute mile after being seriously shot. But who cares. It is pure entertainment.

“Code 46” (-)
This film is a takeoff of that great movie “1984,” which predicted a society conquered by totalitarianism whose people were cogs in the machine and no longer able to run their own lives. “Code 46,” which depicts a world obsessed with genetic engineering, is very dull.

In “Code 46” it is criminal for two people to have children whose genetic makeup is 25 percent identical. The penalties for violating this code increase if the identical percentage is higher. William (Tim Robbins) is a married detective with a child. He is sent from the United States to Shanghai to locate a thief who is stealing genetic ID codes from a factory. He locates the thief, Maria (Samantha Morton). Instead of turning her in, they have an affair. Their romance produces one torrid love-making scene involving frontal nudity. They soon become outlaws in the oppressive society dominating their lives and escape to India.

Given the story line and the excellent acting, it should have been a fascinating movie, but for me it was dullsville. The theater was half full. You can’t beat those underground drums that often save audiences from wasting their time. Regrettably, my hearing aid must have been off when the drums were pounding.

- Ed Koch

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