Characters: Collateral

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    Vincent 

Vincent

Played By: Tom Cruise

"There's no good reason, there's no bad reason to live or to die."

A former special operator and professional hitman hired by middlemen to kill four witnesses and a prosecutor.
  • Abusive Parents: According to Vincent, his father was an abusive drunk who frequently beat him up. Vincent would get shifted from foster home to foster home before winding up back with his father.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Vincent's death is very touching. He sits down on the train dying from a bullet wound, and doesn't try to kill Max in his last moments like one might expect. He merely smiles wearily and wonders if anybody will notice that he's died.
  • Animal Motifs: Wolves. Hell, he even looks like one!
  • Badass: Vincent is a total badass who frequently runs rings around his opponents.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's remarkably sarcastic and walks away with the film's best lines.
    "What? I should only kill people after I get to know them?"

    '"Lady Macbeth, we're sitting here and the light's green. Leave the seats."

    "Only thing that didn't show up is the Polish cavalry."

    "Of all the cabbies in L.A. I get Max: Sigmund Freud meets Dr. Ruth."
  • Determinator
  • Face Death with Dignity: After being mortally wounded, Vincent realizes he's going to die. He doesn't try to take Max out, he just sits down and accepts his own death easily.
  • Faux Affably Evil
  • The Gunslinger
  • Lack of Empathy: As he explains to Max.
    Vincent: Max, six billion people on the planet, you're getting bent out of shape cause of one fat guy.
    Max: Well, who was he?
    Vincent: What do you care? Have you ever heard of Rwanda?
    Max: Yes, I know Rwanda.
    Vincent: Well, tens of thousands killed before sundown. Nobody's killed people that fast since Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Did you bat an eye, Max?
    Max: What?
    Vincent: Did you join Amnesty International, Oxfam, Save the Whales, Greenpeace, or something? No. I off one fat Angelino and you throw a hissy fit.
    Max: Man, I don't know any Rwandans.
    Vincent: You don't know the guy in the trunk, either.
  • Professional Killer: Of course.
    "Max! I do this for a living!"
  • Signature Move: Almost exclusively uses the Mozambique Drill.
  • The Sociopath: Explicitly called out as one, although there are a few signs that Vincent might not be.
  • Straw Nihilist: He has very definite views on the world around him.
    Vincent: There's no good reason, there's no bad reason to live or to die.
    Max: Then what are you?
    Vincent: I'm indifferent.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Vincent has steely grey hair.

    Max 

Max Durocher

Played By: Jamie Foxx

A taxi driver whom Vincent employs to drive him to the locations of the hits.
  • Action Survivor
  • The Anti-Nihilist
  • Clock King
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has an understated wit.
  • Glasses Pull
  • My Beloved Smother: His mother places a great deal of pressure on him.
  • Nice Guy: Max is just a decent person with a considerate nature. As Annie notes, how many cabbies get into an argument to save you money?
  • Sherlock Scan: He performs one on Annie.
    Max: How do you like being a lawyer?
    Annie: What are you, psychic?
    Max: Little bit. There's the dark pin-stripe suit, elegant, not too flashy, that rules out advertising, plus a top-drawer briefcase that you live out of. And the purse. A Bottega. Anyway, a man gets in my cab with a sword, I figure he's a sushi chef. You? Clarence Darrow.
  • Took a Level in Badass

    Annie 

Annie Farrell

Played By: Jada Pinkett-Smith

The lawyer prosecuting Felix Reyes-Torrena.

    Fanning 

Det. Ray Fanning

Played By: Mark Ruffalo

An LAPD detective on the tail of Vincent and Max.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a very sardonic sense of humour.
    Weidner: Maybe he jumped.
    Fanning: Sure... he's depressed so he jumps four stories out of a window onto his head. "Wow, that feels better." Picks himself up. "Now I think I'll go on with the rest of my day."

    Fanning: So you're telling me the guy walks into a phone booth, and shazam, changes into a meat-eater super assassin? What's he do, squeeze them in between fares?
  • Determinator
  • Sacrificial Lion
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Fanning is suddenly and unceremoniously put down by Vincent just as he seems to be getting somewhere in his investigation. Vincent dispatches him with no more difficulty than his other victims.

    Weidner 

Det. Richard Weidner

Played By: Peter Berg

    Felix 

Felix Reyes-Torrena

Played By: Javier Bardem

A Mexican cartel drug lord who hires Vincent.
  • Bigger Bad: Felix is the one who hired Vincent and put the entire night's events into motion.
  • The Cartel: His business.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He makes a passing mention about his children.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: As per Javier Bardem.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Felix only stays polite for a short amount of time, before showing his temper.
  • Hannibal Lecture: When Max poses as Vincent, Felix gives him a pretty brutal speech that forces Max to take action.
    Felix: Do you believe in Santa Claus?
    Max: No.
    Felix: Nor do I. Nor do I, but my children do. They are still small. But do you know who they like even better than Santa Claus? His helper, Pedro el Negro. Black Peter. There's an old Mexican tale that tells of how Santa Claus got so very busy looking out for the good children that he had to hire some help to look out for the bad children. So he hired Pedro. And Santa Claus gave him a list with all the names of all the bad children. And Pedro would come every night to check them out. And the people, the little kids that were misbehaving, that were not saying their prayers, Pedro would leave a little toy donkey on their window. A little burro. And he would come back, and if the children were still misbehaving, Pedro would take them away, and nobody would ever see them again. Now, if I am being Santa Claus, and you are Pedro, how do you think jolly Santa Claus would feel if one day Pedro came into his office and said, "I lost the list."? How FUCKING FURIOUS do you think he will get?
  • Karma Houdini: He presumably gets away scott-free, since so many witnesses are dead and the trial has been entirely derailed. However, with Max as a highly valuable witness, it's entirely possible he gets put away.

    Daniel 

Daniel Baker

Played By: Barry Shabaka Henley

A jazz club owner and one of the witnesses.
  • Boom, Headshot: How Vincent disposes of him.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender: Daniel had the chance to follow his dreams and even jazzed with Miles Davis at one point. But, as he laments, other events got in the way. He serves as an example of putting your dream off because it's too risky until you're too old to actually pursue it.

    Pedrosa 

Agent Frank Pedrosa

Played By: Bruce McGill

An FBI agent staking out Felix Reyes-Torrena's club.