I had a rare “middle of the week” movie attack last night (there was nothing on television) so the wife and I trundled off to see Michael Mann’s latest noir-ish creation Collateral.

An aside: I’ve got a pet theory that 50% of a movie’s gross is determined by it’s choice of title. By my estimation, Collateral is the worst title to appear from Hollywood since the ill-fated Gigli experiment. With a better title, this film might have had a shot at opening at #1.

Tom Cruise stars as Vincent, an assassin sent to Los Angeles to kill five people in a single night. Jamie Foxx stars is Max, a knowledgeable cabbie who dreams of opening his own limosine company. Vincent hires Max to drive him on his rounds, and when the first hit goes wrong, Max is forced to continue to drive Vincent around.

This is classic Michael Mann material, and it is quite well done. I’m not a huge fan of Los Angeles, and just seeing the backdrop reminded me of just how little I like the city. It’s a dark, morose film with some good acting performances by both Cruise (in a slightly less heroic role than is usual, and better done than his usual performance) and by Foxx. I must admit that I think that Jamie Foxx is turning out to be a very good actor, despite my initial impressions of him from In Living Color. I’m struck by the same sort of surprise that made me realize that Tom Hanks could rise above Bosom Buddies and Bachelor Party.

Ultimately I didn’t find the movie that entertaining, and as such it isn’t really he kind of movie I like. It also (if I may borrow a comment from my wife) tends to look like The Terminator in spots. Still, it is a well done glimpse into the world of L.A. crime after dark, and I think it is quite successful. I’ll give it 8 out of 10.