The Tax Collector

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Tax Collector Movie Poster Image
Vivid crime movie done in by dull story, extreme violence.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


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."


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycaringparent101 September 8, 2020

Kids can watch

Ok so it says women are toppless and no they are not.One woman is shown taking a top off but it cuts scenes!!
Adult Written byCarlos Q December 7, 2020


even though the acting is bad it delivers good
shows a lot about loyalty and that's what my kids need to learn despite the movie having pretty graphic viol... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byClorox bleach April 3, 2021

The Tax Collector

I thought this movie had an interesting concept about collecting taxes in gangs. I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars because it wasn’t all great of a movie but w... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old December 8, 2020

Dont Bother this is a bad movie.

Forgettable plot, makes me want to sleep. Didn't even pay attention. First there is these drug dealers then some guys come around and say you have to give... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE TAX COLLECTOR, David (Bobby Soto) and his friend Creeper (Shia LaBeouf) work both for Uncle Louis (George Lopez) and for a mysterious figure known as "Wizard." They are "tax collectors" in South Los Angeles -- i.e., they make sure protection money is paid. At home, David is a loving father and husband to Alexis (Cinthya Carmona). He occasionally shows kindness, such as when he lets one man off the hook when he learns that his child has leukemia. Unfortunately, a new, evil crime boss (Jose Conejo Martin) suddenly appears on the scene, looking to take over. And David finds that his own family is threatened. In the end, he has no choice but to head for a showdown.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Tax Collector's violence. How strong or shocking is it? How did it make you feel? Does it seem to have a purpose?

  • What is misogyny? How are women treated in the movie, both verbally and visually? What message does that treatment send about women?

  • How are Latinx people represented in the movie? Is the movie culturally sensitive? Are there any positive role models here? Why does representation in the media matter?

  • What's the appeal of movies about criminals?

  • David believes that family is the most important thing of all. What is his relationship with his family members like? What are the similarities or differences between them and your own relationships?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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