Walken in L.A.

Salt Lake City Weekly | July 29, 2004
Tom Cruise is a better actor than he generally gets credit for being, but not nearly as good as he seems to think he is. While you’ve got to give props to an A-list star determined to work with the best directors of his time—Scorsese, Spielberg, Kubrick, DePalma—you’d think these directors wouldn’t push him too far out of his comfort zone. Like, for instance, sporting a bleached Christopher Walken ’do to play philosophical killer-for-hire Vincent, who takes Los Angeles cabbie Max (Jamie Foxx) as an unwelcome guest on his all-night mission to eliminate five key participants in the prosecution of a drug lord. Michael Mann (Heat) knows how to direct tense set pieces with stylish panache, enough to ensure a generally compelling tale. But while the crackling opening scenes showcasing Foxx’s better-all-the-time acting suggest a restrained peek at the relationship between L.A.’s slick surface and its grottier underbelly, it eventually turns, like all Mann’s films, into opera. It’s one of those films where we learn What’s Really Important—like that you should carpe the diem, and that Cruise should leave the philosophical killer-for-hire roles to Christopher Walken.

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