Review: ‘The Tax Collector’ loses its money maker too soon.

SYNOPSIS: David (Bobby Soto) and Creeper (Shia LaBeouf), are “tax collectors” for the crime lord Wizard, collecting his cut from the profits of local gangs’ illicit dealings. But when Wizard’s old rival returns to Los Angeles from Mexico, the business is upended, and David finds himself desperate to protect what matters more to him than anything else: his family.

As a fan of Narcos and Cocaine Cowboys, I had incredibly high expectations for The Tax Collector. The slick editing in the beginning, that mixes voiceover and time-jumping violence immediately drew me in. Soto plays David with strength and a conscience. This felt like a fresh take on the typical gang genre. While there is a family angle that is different from the usual fare, it was the introduction of Shia LaBeouf‘s character Creeper that locked me into this particular narrative. He is an unexpected maniac. In reality, it should have come as no surprise because that’s LaBeouf’s schtick; he embodies any role with frightening ease. It was his role that kept me watching The Tax Collector because the idea of Creeper going nuts, simply based on a very brief intercut scene had me salivating for his character’s abilities to take shape. Then, it was a bit of bait and switch. While Bobby Soto was entertaining enough, and the rest of what feels like an ensemble cast is strong as well, LaBeouf’s character disappears and I lost most of my emotional investment. With the aspect of religion Vs religion used in a kind of silly way, I only watched until the end after some serious violence for violence’s sake occurs and thought, “Well, I’ve made it this far. How does this end now?” It’s pretty brutal (this is me warning you now) if you’re at all squeamish. After some truly senseless deaths, and ironically, one that not satisfying enough, the movie sort of just ends okay. That final shot though, come one now. Which is something I actually said out loud at the screen. Admittedly, I thought LaBeouf was the best part of this film. Show up for the genre, the music, the color choices, stay for Shia and The Tax Collector may just keep you in your seat.

RLJE Films will release the thriller THE TAX COLLECTOR, In Theaters, On Demand and Digital on August 7, 2020.

THE TAX COLLECTOR stars Bobby Soto (The Quarry, “Narcos: Mexico”), Cinthya Carmona (“East Los High,” “Greenhouse Academy”), George Lopez (“George Lopez,” Valentine’s Day) and Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy, The Peanut Butter Falcon). The film was directed and written by David Ayer (director and writer of Suicide Squad, Fury, End of Watch and the writer of Training Day).

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.