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‘The Tax Collector’ (review)

Produced by Chris Long, David Ayer,
Tyler Thompson, Matt Antoun

Written and Directed by David Ayer
Starring Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona,
George Lopez, Shia LaBeouf


Set in present day Los Angeles, David Cuevos (Soto) and his partner, Creeper (LaBeof), work as tax collectors for a crime lord, Wizard, collecting his cut from the profits of local gangs’ criminal dealings.

When Wizard’s old rival, Conejo (Jose Conejo Martin), arrives in L.A. from Mexico, he begins to upend business, demanding David to switch loyalties.

Refusing to betray Wizard, David turns down Conejo (Considering the fact that he often bathes in the blood of young women, it’s probably a good call).

Conejo, unsurprisingly doesn’t take this well, and begins to disrupt Wizard’s business.

By the way, Wizard’s identity isn’t revealed until the very end.  As for the actor playing him?

I’ll give you a hint.  He’s famous.

David attempts to maintain order while chaos unfurls and ultimately, protect his family at any cost.

And that’s the premise of writer/director David Ayers’ latest film, The Tax Collector, a cliché filled mean-spirited film which amounts to little more than a delivery system of violence and gore.

Most of the advanced press of this film surrounded the fact that LaBeof actually had his entire torso tattooed to portray Creeper, a fact that he might likely regret since one, it’s seen for less than a minute in the film and two, he would have been better off with a tattoo of Even Stevens; a role for which he is fondly remembered and won a daytime Emmy for.

If nothing else, LaBeof is captivating to watch, which is more than I can say about the rest of the cast.  With underdeveloped stereotypes and a meandering plot, The Tax Collector is a mess of a film.

By the time Conejo starts going after David and Creeper, the movie becomes a somewhat incomprehensible splatter pic, with a level of gratuitous violence that would likely appeal to fans of snuff films.

Ayer has covered Los Angeles gangs in several other projects including writing and directing the amazing End of Watch and the far from amazing Harsh Times; and having written two great films on the subject, Training Day and Dark Blue; The Tax Collector feels like the work of an artist who’s lost his way.

Despite a tight 95 minute running time, The Tax Collector drags, and more shocking, is often boring.  Do yourself a favor and watch the far better End of Watch.  You won’t be disappointed.

The Tax Collector is in Theaters, On Demand and Digital HD Now


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