‘The Tax Collector’ Review: The Hardest Movie Watching Experience of 2020

Hey all, it’s been a while! 

I wish I could say I am reviewing an exciting movie. Unfortunately, this is the furthest thing from it…

The Tax Collector starts off on a bad foot, with graphics that look like they came from a 7th grader looking to make a quick buck. From there, nothing else really improves… so I’ll dive into the one positive first.

The villain of this movie, Conejo, felt like a villain. While the script was shoddy and the editing was offbeat, I was at least somewhat intrigued by the presence of Conejo. He was the rival of the gang that David (Bobby Soto), Creeper (Shia LaBeouf), and Luis (George Lopez) belonged to and when he showed up, he meant business. Although the acting wasn’t A+, it was good to see that at least one quality of this movie was decent. The rest, however? Yikes…

Let’s start with the acting. Bobby Soto plays David, a “tax collector” who runs around LA for his gang collecting cuts from sales. I’m assuming it was from paraphernalia and guns, but they never referenced what they were collecting it for (or I wasn’t paying attention). Shia LaBeouf plays Creeper (what a strange name…), who is essentially David’s right-hand man and best friend.

Creeper (Shia LaBeouf, left) and David (Bobby Soto) Image courtesy RLJE Films

Here’s the first no-no, making Bobby Soto the lead actor. Soto failed to hit emotional highs and lows or any sort of dynamic screen presence. Several sequences in the movie demanded captivating acting and he just couldn’t get there.  Shia’s character, Creeper, was no better. LaBeouf is clearly the better actor, but was being held back for Soto’s David. He barely had dialogue and his screentime was significantly less than David’s. If he was supposed to be the deuteragonist, then they played that ALL wrong. Also, who names a character Creeper? AND who uses a white male to play a part suited for a Latino male? The LA Latin accent was in poor taste in my opinion. LaBeouf’s character didn’t even need the accent to be involved, so I don’t know what the intention of adding the accent was. I really hated this detail of the movie, as I would’ve loved to see a Latino actor get this chance. The movie is a recipe for disaster. This brings me to my next point…

The script is bad… like REALLY bad. Lines uttered in this movie feel like pieces of a script written for a high school film project. Ayer’s effort wasn’t there and it feels as if the Training Day era is gone. Pair this with INCREDIBLY choppy editing and you might as well not watch. Sequences in the film jumped from scene to scene, barely giving me time to focus and dissect what I was seeing. It was like a roller coaster.

I want to talk about one more thing and that’s the Bloods and their depiction.

I’m not in a gang, nor have I ever been. But I can say it’s not realistic to depict blind loyalty. There’s a scene in the film where someone from David’s gang is pummeling a member of the bloods, but David forces it to cease and returns the man to the Bloods. Afterward, we learn that he and the leader have some sort of saint-like relationship that transcends hurting members of opposite gangs. Later in the film, the Bloods even put their lives on the line for David. How is this possible when they are in rival gangs? Well, the leader seems to think David is a “Candle in the dark” or something like that. This loyalty makes no sense and is never elaborated on.

All in all, I would suggest skipping this movie. It’s rare I say that, but it’s not worth the plethora of problems.

Rating: 3/10

Have you see The Tax Collector? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments!

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