… a guy gets into a taxi, and says “Hey, I need to make 6 stops – if I pay you $600, will you drive me around all night?” … I know it sounds like the start of a joke, but this is the very serious premise of Collateral, starring Tom Cruise and Oscar-nominated Jamie Foxx, with a fantastic supporting cast including Peter Berg, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Bruce McGill and Javier Bardem.

Jamie Foxx stars as Max, an ambitious taxi driver, who works nights in Los Angeles, and just happens to pick up the fare of Vincent, played by Tom Cruise. Vincent quickly explains that he is a real estate agent, closing out a few deals, and needs a driver for the night.

Max agrees to do it for the tidy sum of $600. At the first stop, a dead body falls on the roof of Max’s taxi, and it quickly becomes apparent that Vincent is not a real estate agent, but a hitman. Max is trapped as VIncents driver, and the movie follows the odd couple as they drive all over LA to complete Vincent’s contract.

I won’t tell you how it finishes – but I will say this: the ending of Collateral is by far the best part of this movie. While it did tend to be slow in parts (but still entertaining), it kept my attention for the entire length of the movie.

Some great drama sequences (including a classic scene in the hospital, and a great scene in the jaxx nightclub) are the mark of this film, and a mark of director Michael Mann’s quality. At the same time, the action sequences – especially the scene in the night club Fever – are almost perfect as far as scenes of their type go.

At the centre of this film are 2 of the better performances on film in the last 12 months. Both Cruise and Foxx are incredible in their parts, and are the glue that holds this entire film together – particularly Jamie Foxx, whose performance has found him nominated for Best Supporting Actor at this years Oscar’s.

A fantastic screenplay gives them a lot of lead to work with, but at the end of the day, without such able actors in these parts, Collateral wouldn’t have been the movie it is.

Aside from the leads, the support cast is unbelievable. Jada Pinkett Smith is great as Annie, the final of Vincents victims, and the last person in Max’s cab before Vincent. Peter Berg and Mark Ruffalo play the cops assigned to investigate the murders Vincent is doing. Bruce McGill plays an undercover cop watching gang leader Felix, played by Javier Bardem, who has ordered the hits.

Collateral was a movie which I didn’t place a lot of importance on seeing, but now that I’ve seen it, I can tell you that it is one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. Its entertaining, has a great story and screenplay, great action sequences, and has a brilliant ending.

What more could you ask for? I give it a 9 out of 10.