Collateral (4K Blu-ray Review)

More Cruise in 4K? Many an enthusiast is probably so excited for Collateral on 4K Blu-ray. I remember my reaction to the film initially being cool. Does the Cruise/Jamie Foxx/Michael Mann mixture work now 16 years later? Check out more with this in-depth review and click the paid link at the end to get your copy of Collateral being released on December 8th!



Max (Jamie Foxx) has big dreams and lots of drive. His cabbie job is supposedly temporary but at 12 years in, it seems like his career. He knows the streets of LA and how to deal with any fare. Or so he thinks… Vincent (Tom Cruise, looking grizzled and elderly here) is a cool customer. He has a lot to say and shows no signs of shyness. He hops into Max’s cab with a clear directive. 5 stops, no questions asked and Max will earn a cool $600. Not one to ignore a great deal, Max quickly says yes.

Ever suspicious, while Max waits at the first stop, a body falls from above. When Vincent reluctantly reveals he was a part of what made the body fall from the apartment, Max wants out. Of course things can’t go that easily, right? Max has to carry on through a night of darkness. Each stop proves to be even more eye-opening and when Vincent then drags Max into the whole setup, things become personal.

There are many interesting facets to Collateral. Tom Cruise takes a shot at playing a real villain for a change here. He does so with ease but isn’t scary or intimidating as one might expect. Jamie Foxx’s Max is a much more fleshed out character. At first, he is timid and happy to keep his head low and drive his fares. Once pushed there becomes a strength in Max that he never knew he needed. When things progress to involve Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith) a new friend of Max, he really determines himself to end the madness. Other interesting scenes include a brilliant sequence in a night club and some supporting turns from a nearly unrecognizable Mark Ruffalo and Peter Berg. This is an all star cast too! I found myself reacting “Hey it’s that guy!” A lot during my viewing.

I won’t lie though. I’m in the minority when it comes to the general consensus on Collateral. I’m still not all that taken with it. The film has a gritty style. The use of Early HD cameras gives the film at times a gross soap opera like look. The pacing also leaves a little to be desired. The film delivers the good when things are moving and there aren’t too many spaces for quiet. Foxx gives a deservedly Oscar nomination caliber performance though and every actor looks to be doing the best on their craft. After 16 years though, Collateral is still not my top choice for a Cruise, Foxx or Mann feature.


  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Layers: BD-66
  • Clarity/Detail: Originally filmed on 35mm and early 1080p HD cameras, Collateral has never been the greatest looking film. The dark scenes (so, the majority of the movie…) have a grit and grain that will either please you or plague you.  HDR encourages shadow detail and close-ups offer some sharper detailing over the standard Blu-ray.  Overall, the film isn’t much of an upgrade over it’s 1080p counterpart, beside some daytime shots, and a very nice-looking scene in a nightclub. This isn’t a terrible upgrade, but I believe stylistically this was Mann’s intent.
  • Depth: With little uptick In the clarity department, the depth is also only slightly upgraded from the standard Blu. Foregrounds and backgrounds sometimes get lost in the imminent darkness and that can prove frustrating for those who don’t like to squint.
  • Black Levels: Blacks are essential to this presentation, and frustratingly, black levels are somewhat inconsistent. At times they are pin sharp and nicely defined, and at others, shadows and darkness are crushed and blotchy.  Levels are up and down throughout.
  • Color Reproduction: Colors are muted often in this film. Save for some scenes involving specific lighting, the tones in the film look as intended but are often flat and not so vibrant. Again, I believe this is artist’s intent though.
  • Flesh Tones: Thankfully, flesh tones appear to be of the natural variety. This is one aspect where the film does pick up some nice looks in general.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Grain can at times be noisy, but this is definitely source based.


  • Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German
  • Dynamics: Collateral comes to 4K with the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix as its previous home video edition. This mix was fine then and remains so today. This isn’t the most bombastic of movie soundtracks, but the movie isn’t one full of action sequences either. There is a nice separation throughout and bass when needed is meaningful too. Surround presence is nice throughout too.
  • Height: N/A
  • Low Frequency Extension: LFE is not the first and foremost for this mix. Bass hits come from music more than anything and gunfire whenever it occurs. Other than that, this is a reserved mix in the bass department.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds are used for ambience most often. Sounds of the road, random outdoor sounds, crowd din and other general noise appears there, taking you to the streets and nightlife of LA.
  • Dialogue Presentation: Dialogue is nice and clean and intelligible throughout.


Collateral ships with a slipcover, bundled Blu-ray and a digital code. Its features are all vintage, in 480p and are as follows:

  • City of Light: The Making of Collateral (41:00) – An excellent EPK making of that’s a great companion to Mann’s feature commentary
  • Feature Commentary by Michael Mann
  • Special Deliver (1:09) – All about Cruise’s prep for the role.
  • Shooting on Location: Annie’s Office (2:34) – A quick look at the filming of the office sequence near the end of the film.
  • Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx Rehearse (4:13) – Self explanatory.
  • Visual Effects: MTA Train (2:27) – A Run-down of the effects on the train sequence
  • Deleted Scene with commentary by Michael Mann (1:57)
  • Teaser Trailer
  • Theatrical Trailer


Collateral may not be my personal cup of tea, but I am sure that fans of the film will love this new presentation.  There isn’t much to write home about visually, but fans who haven’t had the film on a UHD or HD disc will want to make a purchase.  It’s great that Paramount ported over the features and this one will no doubt hit a great price point soon too. I will warn grain haters to stay away if you can’t handle a little noise though.

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