A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
While Latino culture is represented, movie focuses only on world of crime. In dialogue and on-screen, there's strongly misogynistic behavior. No real lessons are learned: Once characters get into life of crime, they can never get out.
Positive Role Models
Main character demonstrates kindness and sympathy on some occasions, notably when he helps out man whose daughter has leukemia, when he returns victim to his family. But in the end, there are only degrees of criminals here; some aren't as bad as others, but they're still criminals. The fact that White actor Shia LaBeouf plays a Latino man has drawn vocal criticism. Movie is unclear about his origins, but director David Ayer has said that LaBeouf's character actually is White but grew up in Latino culture and appropriated it.
Violence & Scariness
Guns and shooting. Massive slo-mo shoot-out. Blood spurts, bloody wounds, bloody carnage. A character's neck is sliced, another character bathes in her blood. Woman shown beaten, bloodied; man cradles her body in a tub full of bloody water. Character shot and killed. Severed head in ice chest. Beating with a hammer. Stabbing. Hitting with rifle butt, other blunt objects. Character is tied up, bloody. Pipe bomb explosion. Fire. Threatening with a power drill to chest. Children in peril. Violent dialogue, descriptions of torture, spousal abuse, etc.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief shot of topless woman. Another topless woman covered in skin paint. Kissing. Married couple lies in bed, holding hands. Reference to "sexting." Sex-related dialogue.
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Constant language, with multiple uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "p---y," "t-ts," "ass," etc. Faith-based uses of "thank God," "Christ," "Jesus."
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Products & Purchases
Reference to Uber.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Frequent cigarette smoking. Social drinking. Shots of tequila at a quinceañera celebration. Remains of a party show empty bottles and red party cups. Reference to "Molly" (Ecstasy). Reference to someone with a drinking problem.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Tax Collector is a mature crime drama about two men (Bobby Soto and Shia LaBeouf) who collect protection money from L.A. street gangs; they go to war when a new mob boss arrives. Violence is extremely strong, especially toward women: Characters are beaten and killed, and a woman's throat is sliced (a man bathes in her blood). You can also expect guns, shooting, bloody carnage, fighting, a severed head, explosions, violent dialogue (descriptions of torture and abuse), and more. Language is explicit and constant, with countless uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," and more. Topless women are shown briefly, characters kiss, and a married couple lies in bed together. Women are described and spoken about with a misogynist tone. Cigarette smoking is often shown, as is social drinking, and there are references to drugs and alcoholism. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite its vivid L.A. backdrop and its interesting, dedicated performances, this crime drama is both too wearily familiar and too unrelentingly vicious to really succeed. After the dull thud of his movies Suicide Squad and Bright, director David Ayer returns to the streets with The Tax Collector, bringing along LaBeouf, who worked on Ayer's excellent Fury. LaBeouf reportedly got real tattoos for the role, but unfortunately, Creeper doesn't have much to do other than act psychotic and misogynistic. That kind of detail, which also includes LaBeouf's cauliflower ears and the sign language used by Uncle Louis and David, promises a much richer movie than what we actually get.
The plot of The Tax Collector consists of ancient elements from any number of action-adventures and Westerns; there's hardly a surprise in sight. And because things feel so manufactured, the performers, who do seem to be trying, tend to be stifled. They end up slavishly serving the story, rather than emerging as living, breathing characters. Even the slo-mo showdown feels just a little too tired, except for the insane levels of blood and violence. And given that so much of that is directed toward women, the movie moves past thrills and into cringeworthy territory.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.