Movie Review: The Tax Collector

If you’ve been following my reviews since pre-Covid times (remember those?), you know that I haven’t been Shia LaBeouf’s biggest fan. My opinion of him started to change last year though, when he delivered two solid back-to-back performances in THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON and HONEY BOY. But that was then and this is now, and he’s back to his old ways in pal David Ayer’s (BRIGHT; SUICIDE SQUAD; FURY) latest action film, THE TAX COLLECTOR.

Creeper (LaBeouf) is an enforcer for David Cuevas (Bobby Soto, A BETTER LIFE), a loving, family man whose job is to collect “tax” from the local gangs in LA for his family’s criminal enterprise. When a rival tax collector arrives on the scene, their carefully managed lives are suddenly thrown into turmoil.

Wow, that’s got to be the shortest synopsis I’ve ever written. Thirty minutes into THE TAX COLLECTOR and you may start wondering why LeBeouf is even in this film. Contrary to how the film’s trailer makes it look, Creeper is a secondary character as the story focuses on David and his family. Halfway through, LaBeouf gets sidelined and the film changes its tone and style, devolving into something that looks like a trashy cross between a Michael Mann and Quentin Tarantino film. It’s like there are two movies here, done by two different directors. The first one is uninteresting and the second one is such a gratuitously violent train wreck that you will be hard-pressed to finish it. The coup de grace happens with the pep talk to the homies, in case you make it that far.

It would be easy to blame LaBeouf but his role here is too inconsequential to matter. Clearly, he was used by Ayer as the star bait to get funding for the project and it’s too bad that he was. No, this complete mess of a film is totally on Ayer’s shoulders, who also wrote the screenplay. In a year of mediocre films, THE TAX COLLECTOR stands out as one of the worst.

THE TAX COLLECTOR is streaming now on Amazon Prime.

Watch the review recorded on Facebook Live on Friday, August 21st, 8:30 am HK time!

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