The Tax Collector (2020)
«GATUNEK» Akcja, Kryminalny, Dramat
«OPIS FILMU» Tax Collector to David (Bobby Soto), gangster zajmujący się zbieraniem podatków z nielegalnego handlu narkotykami, bronią i wszelkiej przestępczej działalności gangów ulicznych Los Angeles, powiązanych ze społecznością latynoską. David pracuje dla Wizarda, osadzonego w więzieniu bossa, który terrorem i przemocą trzyma każdy z 43 gangów L.A. w szeregu. Nieważne, jak bezwzględni są przestępcy – gdy odwiedza ich David, by odebrać swój procent, na twarzy każdego z nich maluje się strach i posłuszeństwo. Niepokornych, niechcących współpracować lub zalegających z zapłatą, do pionu ustawia Creeper, nieobliczalny partner Davida, brawurowo zagrany przez Shię LaBeoufa. Creeper lubi przechwalać się podbojami seksualnymi i rozmawiać ze swoim kumplem o filozofii i diecie, ale wystarczy mu iskra, by zapalił się żywym ogniem, i byle jaki pretekst, aby wyciągnął broń. Dla tego duetu nie ma żadnych wymówek; jeżeli nie płacisz, znikasz w beczce kwasu, zostajesz pocięty na kawałki lub obdarty ze skóry. Ich życie toczy się swoim brutalnym rytmem, dopóki na scenę nie wkracza Conejo, tajemniczy gangster z Meksyku, który jako jedyny sprzeciwia się zaprowadzonemu przez Wizarda porządkowi, i niczym diabeł kusi Davida, by ten zdradził swoją rodzinę i przyłączył się do jego organizacji. Czy lojalność, miłość i uliczne koneksje okażą się silniejsze od perspektywy gwałtownego awansu w gangsterskiej hierarchii?
«PLOT»The film opens with a man named David Cuevas (Bobby Soto) and his wife Alexis (Cinthya Carmona) waking up. She tells him that she had a dream she was walking by the ocean and saw their kids drowning. She tried to save them, but they were trapped under what looked like a sheet of glass. David assures her it was just a dream. Their kids Casey (Aaliyah Lopez) and Dillon (Ricardo Gonzalez) come in to get them out of bed as Alexis’s sister Favi (Lana Parilla) and daughter Jazmin (Gabriela Flores) are coming.
David has breakfast with his family before going off to work at a garage he owns. He chastises employee Lupe (Chelsea Rendon) for partying there and smoking weed. David’s partner Creeper (Shia LaBeouf) arrives, and they wait for a guy named Victor (Rene Moran), who is bringing them payment on behalf of his boss Big Lomas. David and Creeper are “tax collectors” for Wizard (Jimmy Smits), the biggest gangster in the area, and they collect a cut of what the other gangs earn through drugs or prostitution. Creeper, known for his violent demeanor, intimidates Victor, but he gives them their payment. The guys then go to David’s uncle Louis (George Lopez) to confirm Victor’s payment.
David and Creeper continue about their day with other shady dealings from other gangs. They are called to resolve an issue with one of their guys when they take a Blood member hostage for sleeping with the man’s girlfriend. David comes in to tell them to let the man go before it gets ugly since they have no feud with Bloods. They let the man go and start beating the man who took him for trying to start something. David has the Blood brought back to the other gangsters peacefully while he settles things with their leader, Bone (Cle Sloan). They part on respectful terms after Bone says he wants to squash any beef between their gangs. David is then called by Alexis to handle a situation with a dress that Jazmin wanted for her quinceañera that was already taken by another girl. David goes to the store and promptly handles the issue.
When David gets home that night, Alexis tells him that she counted the money from Big Lomas and that it came up short 20 grand. David and Creeper pay Victor a visit and threaten him, but he admits that he skimmed some money because his daughter has leukemia. After Victor proves it, David, being a devoted family man himself, lets Victor live, but he and Creeper take the money after Victor tells them where it is.
David gets a text saying a gangster named Venom (Brian Martin Ortega) has 200 grand for them, but when they go to collect it, they are met by Wizard’s rival Conejo (Jose “Conejo” Martin), who says that Venom works for him now, so all the money earned belongs to him. David sits to tell him that he doesn’t know who he’s messing with, but Conejo isn’t afraid of Louis and forces David and Creeper to leave empty-handed. The guys go to Louis to inform him, and Louis says that Conejo and Wizard were rivals, but the former retreated to Mexico up until recently and has always had a reputation as a street terrorist, but in order to get rid of him, Louis needs to put it to a vote within 24 hours, as opposed to Creeper’s desire to just straight-up slaughter Conejo.
Before going to bed, David asks Alexis what she saw in him. She knew he was someone she otherwise shouldn’t have been messing with, but she fell in love with him and originally wanted him to kill her abusive alcoholic father, but he got sober and prefers the life they have now. The next day, David is seen going to a self-defense class.
The family holds Jazmin’s quince at the Cuevas house. While there, Louis leaves to go meet with Conejo. David’s sister Delia (Noemi Gonzalez) asks him if he has spoken to their father, but David says they don’t want to talk to each other. After David and Alexis share a dance, they are visited by Conejo’s girlfriend Gata (Cheyenne Rae Hernandez), who orders David and Creeper to leave and meet with Conejo. They go to a nightclub where Conejo presents them with Louis’s head and hands in a box. He uses this as incentive to get the guys to work for him, but David and Creeper leave silently.
The guys are at the garage discussing plans to kill Conejo, but David doesn’t think it would be wise to go at him straight-on. Gata and some of Conejo’s other men start shooting up the place, killing some of the other men before Gata throws a pipe bomb in there. They capture Creeper but David gets away. He rushes to get Alexis and the kids to safety. As Alexis drives to the kids, David gets a video call from Conejo, where he forces David to watch Gata smashing Creeper’s legs with a hammer before bludgeoning him to death.
David takes Alexis to a hotel room with the kids for safety and to arrange to stay with Favi. He leaves her with a gun for protection. He rushes to Lupe and Delia’s place where he digs up a stash of over $1.5 million to get away with Alexis and the kids. Before he leaves, Delia pleads with David not to let Alexis get involved with his business. When he returns to the hotel room, he discovers Alexis dead and the kids missing. He tearfully holds his wife and goes to clean the blood off of her. David later calls Favi and asks if the kids are with her, but she tells him she got a text from Alexis saying she was going to keep them. Conejo then calls David and tells him he has the kids and to meet him in two hours, or he will melt them in acid.
Now on his own, David goes to the Blood house and asks Bone for help after telling him what has happened. Without hesitation, Bone gathers volunteers to help David go after Conejo and his men. They hit one of his drug houses and kill all but one of his men. They take him, torture him by dragging his face across the concrete before shooting him in the head after finding Conejo’s address on his phone. They arrive at the house and find Casey and Dillon safe, but nobody else except for Conejo’s grandmother is there. The kids go with Bone’s men, and the grandmother gives up Conejo’s location since she knows what a horrible person he is. Despite David’s objections, Bone is set on helping him see this to the end.
David and Bone arrive at Conejo’s place. David strangles a guard while Bone is almost taken in by one of Conejo’s women and a gunman, but he fights and kills both of them. David bursts into Conejo’s room and opens fire, killing Gata while Conejo hides in the bathroom. He shoots at David until David shoots him in the arm, leading to them fighting hand-to-hand. Conejo almost suffocates David until he remembers the words from his self-defense teacher and finds inspiration within himself (in this case, Alexis) to fight back. He overpowers Conejo and smashes his skull with a broken sink.
Bone prepares to take David to a friend who can patch him up, but he asks him to pull over briefly so he can call somebody. David calls Wizard, who is revealed to be his father. He thanks David for taking care of Conejo and says he is going to lead the business now, but David rejects any involvement with Wizard. After they hang up, Wizard holds up a rosary and says “Forgive me”.