The Tax Collector
review by Bobby Blakey
Writer/director David Ayer has been delivering great flicks for years including Harsh Times, End of Watch, Suicide Squad, Bright and one of my personal favorites Fury. His latest Tax Collector stars Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona, George Lopez and Shia LaBeouf and looks to bring more of the greatness in the gritty crime genre. Could this crime action thriller find its place in Ayer’s gritty filmography or will it fail to find is place in the family?
Tax Collector follows David and Creeper, “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.
There was already so much controversery right out the gate just from the trailer involving Shia LaBeouf’s character. As usual people just assumed something stupid instead of waiting to see the actual film and were once again completely wrong. He is in fact NOT playing a Hispanic character, but instead a white character that grew up and influenced by the culture which is something that happens in the real world every day. I love him in this film but was a bit bummed there wasn’t more of him. I get the purpose of his character and loved every minute he was on screen but just wanted more.
The real focal point here is David played by Bobby Soto. He is the lead of the film that everything revolves around. Soto and LaBeouf have great chemistry that you believe they are trusted friends and allies, which they are in real life as well. I wish we had gotten a bit more time on their relationship and maybe their past to give more depth to their connection, but that’s not the focus here. Instead we are more streamlined into their business, day to day work and the all-new war there are thrust into.
The rest of the cast are good with the always great George Lopez taking on a more serious role and knocking it out of the park. The villain here is a bit out of
place for me and reminded me of Screwface from Marked For Death. This isn’t an insult in anyway as I love that movie and thought rapper Conjeo did a great job it just felt off. That being said I still enjoyed the complete different shift of the character in conjunction with the rest of story. While it feels off a bit for me he does showcase a disturbing element to the film and kind of brings the true evil of their world to manifest visually.
I know we are during a time where so many are looking for more uplifting and positive looks at minority culture but I cannot lie, I love these kinds of movies. You can deny it and complain all you want, but this world exists. The sheer violence alone showcased here and its prominent, showcases how horrific this culture is and to me is not shining a good light on it. At the same time its entertainment and we have to be able to deliver any kind of film you want without it always causing issues. I love Ayer’s style, visuals and gritty tone to his films and while this one isn’t perfect I damn sure enjoyed it.
Decide for yourself and check out The Tax Collector available now in select theaters, On Demand, and digital from RLJE Films.