"Reel Reviews: ‘The Tax Collector’ brings epic, bloody gang violence" by: Jessica Shepard

   As the last of the COVID-cut-short spring films make their way to streaming and stores near us, I’m tapping the closest Redbox to rent them.
   Take for example, “The Tax Collector,” which had a brief stint in theaters before they shut down due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
   I have to say if you’ve seen “Training Day” or any of the “Sicario” films, then you’re pretty prepared for this one.
   The movie lasts 95 minutes and is listed as not-rated; though I would rate it as an “R” due to violence, sex, nudity, and profanity.
   The Tax Collector is an action thriller film written, directed, and produced by David Ayer.
   The film stars Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona, Cle Sloan, George Lopez, Chelsea Rendon, Jimmy Smits, Rene Moran, Jose Martin, and Shia LaBeouf, and follows two enforcers (known as “tax collectors”) working for a Los Angeles crime lord whose business becomes upended, resulting in one of them desperately protecting his family from an old rival.
   In Los Angeles, David Cuevas (Soto) lives with his wife Alexis (Carmona) and their two children.
   As Alexis’ family prepares for her niece’s quinceañera, David arrives at his auto electronics store, where he employs his cousin Lupe (Rendon).
   Joined by his partner Creeper (LaBeouf), David receives a payment from Victor (Moran), a newly promoted gangster.
   David and Creeper are “tax collectors,” enforcers who collect a cut of the profits from 43 local gangs for their boss Wizard (Smits), who runs his far-reaching criminal enterprise from prison.
   David and Creeper visit David’s uncle Louis (Lopez), confirming Victor’s payment, and collect other gangs’ payments throughout the city.
   Learning that a member of his crew has abducted a member of the Bloods for sleeping with his girlfriend, David rescues the Blood, leaving his kidnapper to be beaten for nearly inciting a gang war.
   David and Creeper return the man on peaceful terms to the Bloods’ leader, Bone (Sloan), and Alexis summons David to intimidate another family out of buying the dress her niece wants.
   Alexis discovers Victor’s payment is $20,000 short, and David and Creeper track him down.
   At gunpoint, he admits to skimming the money to pay for his daughter’s leukemia treatment; David, a devoted family man himself, lets Victor keep the money.
   David and Creeper visit an associate named Venom for a $200,000 payment, but are met by Conejo (Martin), a rival gang leader who declares that Venom now works for him, forcing them to leave empty handed.
   David informs Louis, who explains that Conejo was a rival of Wizard who retreated to Mexico, earning a reputation for ruthlessness.
   Creeper is eager to eliminate Conejo, but Louis requires a vote from fellow gang leaders.
   Alexis reassures David of her love for him and their life together, and David struggles at his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class.
   Things start to spiral downward from there, with more problems stacking up against David and Creeper.
   The film definitely portrays David’s trials and conflicted efforts at keeping his family together and happy while working in a very dangerous job.
   Overall, I did enjoy the eventual triumph of good over evil at the end of the film, so, if you can stomach gang violence and profanity, this is right up your alley.

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