Before we get into my review of Tax Collector, let me say that I’m a David Ayer fan and after seeing the poster and trailer for Tax Collector back in July, I posted them both saying that I looked forward to seeing the movie.
ComingSoon.net recently had a contest for a free DVD of Tax Collector. I entered and won a copy. That copy is what I am reviewing.
Tax Collector (2020)
Director: David Ayer
Screenplay: David Ayer
Stars: Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona, Shia LaBeouf, Jose Conejo Martin, Cheyenne Rae Hernandez, George Lopez and Brian Ortega.
The Pitch: “David Ayer is ready to make another movie!”
Tagline: From the Creator of “Training Day” and “End of Watch”
The Overview: Beware of Spoilers…
David Cuevas (Soto) and his crime partner, Creeper (LaBeouf) are tax collectors for a crime lord known as The Wizard. They collect a 30% tax on all illegal gang activity in the city. If the money isn’t on time or the count comes up short, Cuevas and Soto resolve the issue so it doesn’t happen again.
Cuevas is living a double life of sorts. He has a beautiful wife and two children. He wants to be a good husband and father. The life Cuevas lives has given him a nice house, lots of money and respect, but the things he does to earn them are hard to justify. While Cuevas is a religious man, his partner, Creeper has come to terms with who they are and what they do.
Things go smoothly until a Conejo (Martin), a rival gang lord, returns to the city with intent to take over the Wizard’s operation. Conejo meets with Cuevas and offers him a choice: join Conejo or Cuevas and his family will be killed.
To tell more would be to give away too much. The movie contains more than a few twists, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone going to see Tax Collector that there are scenes of brutal violence. If you’re a fan of David Ayer, then you know what to expect.
As a screenwriter, Ayer got my attention with Training Day. As a director, it was with Street Kings. Then as a writer/director he brought us Harsh Times, End of Watch, Sabotage (one of Arnold’s best), and Fury just to name a few. Ayers’ films take us into a world where men are placed in violent situations and there are consequences to their actions.
I’ve never been a big Shia LaBeouf fan, but man, he owns every scene he is in. His character, Creeper, is a stone cold killer, and LaBeouf was perfect for the part. Remember No Country for Old Men and the character Anton Chigurh played by Javier Bardem? Remember the universal praise Bardem rightly received? I’d rate LaBeaouf’s performance at the same level.
Other standout performances include Cheyenne Rae Hernandez as Gata and Jose Conejo Martin as Conejo. It was also cool to see George Lopez playing against character and Brian Ortega from the UFC in a supporting role.
I really liked the Tax Collector. If you’re a David Ayer fan, you probably will as well.