Friday 7 August 2020

The Tax Collector (Movie Review)

I know we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I'd be lying if I said anything about The Tax Collector looked remotely appealing to me when I first spotted its trailer all those months ago. Everything about the movie just felt decidedly cheap, like a low-budget B-movie or one of those made-for-TV films. The sole factor that kept the movie on my radar was learning it was being helmed by David Ayer. 

So a part of me hoped this could be his next End of Watch, a film that was not only gritty and down to Earth, but also told a heartfelt story about duty and family. Well, The Tax Collector is neither of those things. It is instead an exercise in how much tolerance you have for excessive gang-related violence, and a story that ultimately goes nowhere.

That story center upon a pair of tax collectors, David (Bobby Soto) and Creeper (Shia LaBeouf), who both work for a crime lord that goes by the name, Wizard. Their job is to collect money owed by the various criminals under their jurisdiction, in exchange for protection and their right to carryout their criminal activities undisturbed.

David is a family man, with a wife and two kids and a very large extended family. Creeper on the other hand, doesn't believe in all that familial baggage, or much else for that matter. He is a stone-cold enforcer, and together, the pair have grown to be feared by all the criminals under their watch. 

But when a rival gang leader, Conejo, comes into town, Bobby is forced to do everything he can to protect not only his territory, but his family as well as.

The Tax Collector is yet another misfire from David Ayer, and possibly the most aggravating one in his current body of work. It takes forever before anything really happens in the movie, and when it finally does, it does nothing to save the movie's further descent into unwatchable territory. 

The film isn't exactly helped by the fact that neither of its two leads are particularly likeable. These are men that engage in some of the most despicable criminal activities imaginable. So when their carefully built criminal empire starts crumbling like a house of cards, I couldn't help but feel zero sympathy for their plight.

I appreciate movies that attempt to blur the lines between good and evil. But in this film, there is simply nothing happening onscreen at any given time that can be considered a good deed, and the people we are expected to root for turn out to be irredeemable as a result. The script is also paper-thin, and its weird pacing doesn't leave any room for any kind of character development.

Avoid The Tax Collector at all cost, unless you're morbidly curious and in need of a David Ayer fix. Or you have money to burn. And even then, you'd be better served just watching the far superior End of Watch. I really hope he makes another film that delivers like that did, and soon.


  1. I don't think Shia LaBeouf is much of an actor and if it's just excessive violence, I'll pass.

    1. I kinda liked him in Fury. And I hear he killed it in Honey Boy and Peanut Butter Falcon. But yeah, this is definitely not one of his better work.