(Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Mark Ruffalo / R / 102 mins / Paramount Pictures)
Overview: A struggling comedy writer named Max (Jamie Foxx), who drives a cab in Los Angeles to earn a living, gradually realizes that the passenger he's been driving around all night (Tom Cruise) is a hit man who has been rubbing out people at every stop. Max has to figure out how to prevent the killer from knocking off his last victim and how to come out of the situation alive.
Verdict: For a summer release, one coming out amidst an onslaught of special effects-laden action and sci-fi films, 'Collateral' is a challenging thriller for adults, puppeteered by classy filmmaker Michael Mann (1999's 'The Insider') and aided by his know-how of ratcheting suspense and intrigue out of even the most quiet of moments. There are real ideas and themes explored here—the notion that human nature demands people to not pay attention to what doesn't concern them, the realization that one's lifelong dreams for the future are slipping out of their grasp through the cruel passages of both time and inertia—rather than just an excuse to parade out violence and cheap thrills in the name of entertainment. 'Collateral' gets all of this just right, but takes a detour in the third act that is disappointingly more conventional than the plot deserves. Ultimately, it concludes being less than the sum of its parts.