The Tax Collector is a straightforward gangster movie – two tax collectors work for a crime lord who gets a cut from the local gangs’ deals.
The first act of this movie spends a lot of time telling us that David (Bobby Soto) is the shit – he’s got an infamous partner, family connections, and a devoted wife who takes part in the operation.
His backdrop is a mix of LA gangs and Latinx culture that’s respectful and convincing. The casting is considerate too – the principal cast is filled with Latin actors and actresses. Shia LaBeouf plays a cholo, and he’s crazy enough to be convincing in this role. Performances are adequate considering how thinly written the characters are.
This overdone set-up tells you that cliches are going to pile up, but this movie is from the guy who made End of Watch. Maybe it’ll take off eventually. Unfortunately, The Tax Collector goes nowhere interesting because of a boring script that regurgitates stereotypes.
It turns out that David isn’t the shit. For all the buildup about how he works for a notorious crimelord, he gets easily cornered by a comical villain who is an expert stock trader and dedicated satanic worshipper.
This old rivalry leads to two generic shootouts, one slow-motion shot, and one dull showdown. A gang that is supposedly notorious for having tight control over their territory gets a drop-in by stock henchmen with automatics. And Creeper? he isn’t the shit too.
This is sprinkled with gang cliches, caricatures, and some gore. There’s no one to care about onscreen that Creeper’s passionate ride-or-die speech doesn’t rouse any of the emotion Shia LaBeouf packs in every word.
Acting from the cast is decent. But Shia LaBeouf is the only thing that stands out in this movie.
In the end, the movie tries to convince us of David’s rise – a family man who is born into an inevitable fate. But the non-existent character depth makes none of this convincing.
The Tax Collector is supposedly about family, tradition, and the complicated relationships between all wrapped up in a gritty gangster movie. Sadly David Ayer can’t make it entertaining nor compelling.
The Tax Collector
The Tax Collector is 95 minutes of posturing, gangster cliches, and stereotyping.