Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks


Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Collateral Movie Poster Image
Powerful but violent thriller -- not for kids.
  • R
  • 2004
  • 100 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.


Extreme and graphic peril and violence, many characters killed.


Very strong language.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking, drug references.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is extremely violent, with constant tension and peril and many graphic shoot-outs. Many people are killed. Characters use very strong language, drink and smoke, and there are references to drugs and drug dealing.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGoodGuy April 9, 2008

Why make this movie?

Ok, a view into the life of a hit man can seem like an interesting concept - but why? Why devote hours of your life to learn about the scum of society. The mov... Continue reading
Adult Written byfritzsky April 9, 2008
Teen, 14 years old Written byaidenconvict April 9, 2008

A must-thriller if you like Tom Cruise or Jamie Foxx.

Overall, I was very satisfied with this movie. I did not expect much out of it at first, but it turned out amazing. It is rather simple in a way and might be to... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bydavyborn April 1, 2012

A ultra-gritty thriller for older teens+ only

One of Michael Mann's better films, Collateral works fairly well as a urban action film, filled with some absolutely sensational nighttime Las Angeles cine... Continue reading

What's the story?

In COLLATERAL, Max (Jamie Foxx) is a cab driver who begins his shift by wiping off the dashboard and putting his favorite picture on the visor. He takes his job seriously. Vince (Tom Cruise) offers Max $600 to stay with him all night, through five stops. Max turns him down at first; it's against the rules. But then he says yes. He takes the fare to his first stop. Vince goes inside while Max waits for him. And then a dead body hits the roof of his cab. Vince is a hit man, and the five stops are people he has been hired to kill. Can Max save any of them? Can he save himself?

Is it any good?

As cool as a jazz riff from a tenor sax, this stylish and powerful thriller has it all. It boasts consistently absorbing characters, twisty dialogue and an even twistier story, and action that engages the heart as it thumps a little faster. Director Mann uses a silvery blue palette and spare, reflective, glass-filled settings to keep the mood as cool as moonlight. Both Jada Pinkett Smith and Mark Ruffalo are endlessly watchable, giving their characters subtlety and context to make us care far out of proportion to their time onscreen.

Foxx is turning into a performer of great presence and depth and he makes a convincing leading man. Cruise is a little out of his range but that works oddly well for Vince, giving him a little frisson of uncertainty underneath the Terminator-like singlemindedness of the character. And Cruise has moments of brilliance. He even runs in character, completely focused but so in each moment that he does not try to pace himself. He puts everything he has into each step forward.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Vince's ability to compartmentalize. He says he did not kill one of the victims, "the bullet and the fall killed him." Notice the way that Vince is always to the left of Max except in one scene. Which scene is that and why? What were Max's options? What is the meaning of the title? Who or what serves as collateral?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate