Monday, April 25, 2011

Scenes from Michael Mann's Collateral

I've been pretty quiet the last few weeks. Trying to wrap up my manuscript while working on reading at least five different books for future reviews and begin another writing project...on top of work and graduate classes. Hectic times.

Michael Mann is one of my favorite modern movie directors, and one of my favorite Mann movies is 2004's Collateral, with Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. The story of Vincent the assassin and the way he is characterized was one of the seeds planted in my imagination that eventually grew into Killer Instincts; Richard, Jamie, and William all owe some of themselves to this film.

One of the coolest scenes in Collateral is the Club Fever Hit: Cruise goes into a crowded nightclub and assassinates his target with extreme well as a few bodyguards and cops along the way. This scene has a mix of combat and cool that really appeals to me.

During part of the DVD commentary, we learn that Michael Mann hired an ex-SAS commando to train Cruise for three months in the ways of combat tactics and marksmanship. A big part of that training was shooting drills...with live ammunition. I tip my hat big time to Mann for having the balls to insist on live-fire drills to instill in Cruise the methodology of firearm management you learn when handling a "real" weapon, not a blank-adapted pistol. Here's a chunk of that commentary:

One of the most lauded moments in the movie is the "Briefcase Shooting" - Tom Cruise out-shoots two guys in 1.3 seconds, one of whom has a gun in his face. Although yes, it is "fake", the methods and moves he uses are very well done - an impressive bit of shooting skill.

If you haven't seen this movie already, it's definitely worth checking out.


Anonymous said...

Although the overall plot of the movie seemed a little silly to me, Tom Cruise was outstanding in it. He was absolutely believable as a professional assassin. I think even lay people who watch the movie feel like they are watching something real and authentic because of how fluid Cruise executes his shooting drills. You can see this from his combat reloads but especially in the briefcase scene.

Jack Badelaire said...

Yeah, I guess they estimated the move should take 1.6 seconds, and Cruise managed it in 1.3 - did even better than his SAS trainer was able to pull off.

One thing that Mann does very well is put effort into making his combat sequences look as authentic as possible (barring the realities of having to make a film).

Having an A-List actor take on the risk involved with training in combat drill conditions using a live handgun (apparently Cruise had never fired a live pistol before) is ballsy, but I feel it paid great dividends.