A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in LA. He must find a way to save both himself and one last victim.
offers a change of pace for Tom Cruise as a ruthless contract killer, but that's just one of many reasons to recommend this well-crafted thriller. It's from Michael Mann, after all, and the director's stellar track record with crime thrillers (Thief
, and especially Heat
) guarantees a rich combination of intelligent plotting, well-drawn characters, and escalating tension, beginning here when icy hit-man Vincent (Cruise) recruits cab driver Max (Jamie Foxx) to drive him through a nocturnal tour of Los Angeles, during which he will execute five people in a 10-hour spree. While Stuart Beattie's screenplay deftly combines intimate character study with raw bursts of action (in keeping with Mann's directorial trademark), Foxx does the best work of his career to date (between his excellent performance in Ali
and his title-role showcase in Ray
), and Cruise is fiercely convincing as an ultra-disciplined sociopath. Jada Pinkett-Smith rises above the limitations of a supporting role, and Mann directs with the confidence of a master, turning L.A. into a third major character (much as it was in the Mann-produced TV series Robbery Homicide Division
is a bit slow at first, but as it develops subtle themes of elusive dreams and lives on the edge, it shifts into overdrive and races, with breathtaking precision, toward a nail-biting climax. --Jeff Shannon