Shia LaBeouf's latest film, The Tax Collector, is devastated by critics who have labeled it "incompetent," "bloody," and "one of the cruelest viewing experiences of the year".
The thriller, in which Bobby Soto also plays and which premiered on August 7th, was written and directed by David Ayer, who was also behind the films Suicide Squad, Training Day and Fury.
The film follows the characters of LaBeouf and Soto, Creeper and David, as "tax collector" and enforcer for the crime lord The Wizard from Los Angeles, Jimmy Smits.
Critics have devastated David Ayer's new film The Tax Collector, in which Shia LaBeouf (left) and Bobby Soto (right) play the lead roles, and premiered on August 7th
Rotten Tomatoes lists the film's critics at just 18 percent, which suggests it's "lazy".
The film hit headlines earlier this year when people accused LaBeouf of being in white for portraying a Latino character despite being white, a claim Ayer has disproved.
Ayer tweeted on July 1, “Shia plays a whiteboy who grew up in the hood. This is a Jewish guy who plays a white character. Also the only white guy in the movie. & # 39;
Now that the film is out, it is drawing negative attention for an entirely different reason – including its stereotypical portrayal of Latinos, excessive violence, incoherence, and poor dialogue.
As of Saturday, Rotten Tomatoes gave The Tax Collector a rating of just 18 percent for lazy critics, based on 34 reviews, while viewer ratings are only 50 percent, based on eight reviews.
"The Tax Collector is an exhausting and ill-advised crime drama that does not arouse much interest," is how Rotten Tomatoes sums up the film.
The Los Angeles Times began its review by stating that "poisonous macho energy permeates the film" and describes it as "a viciously exploitative carnage that has re-exposed the negative image of the Latino people still so prevalent in the media" .
The tax collector revolves around two men who work as enforcers for a crime lord in Los Angeles. Shia LaBeouf (right) has a real tattoo of his characters' name, Creeper, on his chest for the role
Critics tweeted their not-too-flattering thoughts and reviews of The Tax Collector
Calling it "one of the cruelest viewing experiences of the year," critic Carlos Aguilar says the film "relies on a mundane visual language based on obvious flashbacks and boring imagery that go with the unimaginatively terrifying script that every Latino in Point of view is is a gangster. & # 39;
The New York Times, meanwhile, called the film "generic" and noted its "insanely illogical plot".
The tax collector was written and directed by David Ayer, who was also behind Suicide Squad and Fury
Critic Jeannette Catsoulis wrote that the characters were "primarily motivated and incredibly trite," noting that LaBeouf – and his peers – were "constrained" by the weight of stereotypes and dialogue that have no chance against violence.
The Hollywood Reporter called it a "well-acted movie" and said it had "many admirable goals, such as creating roles for the Latino community and spending production money in areas that could benefit from the boom".
But despite the goals, "this grim carnage feels too routine to be of much interest," wrote critic David Rooney.
Although he praised LaBeouf's performance in the film, he wrote, "There is too little depth to deal with the characters and too little imagination at work to make The Tax Collector pay."
However, IndieWire blew up LaBeouf's performance in the "boring" film, noting the actor staring and strutting as a restless thug named Creeper through a cartoonish and culturally insensitive performance that certainly didn't involve having his character's name tattooed over his chest. & # 39;
The 52-year-old filmmaker stated, “Shia plays a whiteboy who was raised in the hood. This is a Jewish guy who plays a white character. Also the only white guy in the movie & # 39;
Critics disagreed on whether or not LaBeouf (left) performed well
Comedian George Lopez also starred in the film, playing David's uncle, a criminal who also owns a car repair business
The public also took to Twitter to express how bad they were, even though the film was after its debut
While filming, LaBeouf tattooed "Creeper" on his chest, beneath a portrait of his mother weighing a rodeo cowboy who is reported to symbolize his estranged father.
Also called LaBeouf's performance "two-bit Latino burlesque", critic Eric Kohn, who gave the film a D +, said the film's script "feels like it was written for video game cutscenes."
The film is also said to be "a mixture of vulgar threats and violent outbursts".
Variety's review found the film "bloody, barely coherent, and about as funny as having a moving SUV drag your face across the asphalt".
Critic Peter Debruge also called The Tax Collector a "bizarrely edited action film," but backed off claims that the film was racist and writes, "although it is true that the film contains virtually no non-criminals, it is petty to suggest that Ayer is implying that everyone in South Central is some sort of gangster, or that the way these characters speak – including the Chicano-accented murmur of the lonely white boy LaBeouf appropriated by his fellow human beings – represents all Latinos . & # 39;
RogerEbert.com gave the film a thumbs down, and critic Brian Tallerico called it "so incompetent that it practically eludes criticism".
"Once you get past the terribly casual racial stereotypes, nonexistent character depth, incoherent plot, clichéd dialogue, and confusing editing, perhaps most insulting is how deafeningly boring the whole affair ended," wrote Tallerico.
"If you want to make a movie that lazily, at least try to make it fun!"
He further speculates that coronavirus could be responsible for the course of the film.
"I don't know if the blinding inability to do basic elements like editing and plotting in the second half of this movie was due to COVID-19, but that's the nicest thing I can guess," he wrote.
Chicago Sun-Times reviewer Richard Roeper claimed the film was "a sub-par, extremely violent urban gangster film with a meandering plot and a fictional twist."
Although he noted that "there are fascinating early-stage setups".
Steve Pond of The Wrap wrote that the film "explores a lot of attitudes and a lot of gang movie stereotypes, but flails instead of making us worry" and that it is "an exaggerated exercise in melodramatic brutality."
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