Release date: August 7, 2020
Running time: 95 minutes
Starring: Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona, Shia LaBeouf
David (Soto) along with his friend / bodyguard Creeper (LaBeouf) are “tax collectors” for a crime lord. However, when an old rival for the crime lord shows up, David finds that his family’s safety is compromised. How he overcomes this situation will not only reverberate with him and his family, but with the entire power structure in South Central LA.
The most intriguing part of The Tax Collector is the reemergence of Shia LaBeouf. He completely transforms for this role, turning into a heartless, fearless, ruthless killer who also has intense loyalty for David. It is great to see him back in movies and I really liked his character, despite it being slightly one dimensional. He was a nice foil for David, who was also ruthless but had more heart. The two play off each other well and it is fun to see David rein in Creeper’s more outgoing and impulsive personality. Together the two have a really fun dynamic. They work well together collecting “taxes” but also have some funny personal interactions. And LaBeaouf is at his best when he is playing the crazy part of his character. He says some very funny things when he is getting riled up.
The Tax Collector is very much a crime thriller and less of an action movie. The film spends a lot of time establishing the characters and their relationships; any action in the film occurs much later. And once the action gets started, the film has a tendency to simply focus on a character or two with everyone else remaining absent. It was sad because the movie spent so much time establishing a host of characters and family structure only for it to disappear when things got hairy. And although the dialogue is generally enjoyable, some of the lines seem forced. Some of the characters do not naturally come off as thugs and enforcers, which makes the times that they are called on to play that role seem not genuine. And finally, the film tries to throw in a twist at the end but it really just makes the ending feel unfulfilling. However, the movie itself sets a solid foundation and has enough interesting interactions to be an enjoyable crime thriller.
The Tax Collector has some intense characters–headlined by a transofmred Shia LaBeouf–in this ruthless story about family and power.