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. It can be taken as an attempt of manipulation on Vincent's part to get Max to do his bidding, but Word of God confirms that it was a rare moment of honesty on his part, that he quickly tries to cover up.
- Affably Evil: Played with; he comes across as a charming man that enjoys conversing with people, even if he plans to kill them. He expresses seemingly genuine concern for the state of Max's life, encourages him to call Annie, describes himself as Max's friend while being nice to Max's mother - who he insists on bringing flowers. However, it's at least partly a facade - he's planning to kill Max to preserve his cover from the very beginning, his threatening Max's boss and visiting his mother are born out of concern that Max acting out of character will get them noticed, and he threatens Ida's life barely a scene after visiting her. Moreover, what rapport he has with Max crumbles slowly throughout the film as his plans go off the rails. It seems to be up to the viewer whether he's actually this or Faux Affably Evil.
- Alas, Poor Villain: After being fatally wounded by one of Max's gunshots, and bleeding everywhere, he calmly accepts defeat, sits down, and Max seems to genuinely sympathize with him. Vincent doesn't fight back, curse at him, nothing, he just asks if anyone will even notice that he's dead.Max: We're almost at the next stop...Vincent: Hey Max... a guy gets on the MTA here in L.A. and dies... do you think anybody will notice?
- All There in the Manual: Tom Cruise and Michael Mann came up with an extensive background for Vincent. Including his abusive childhood, his career in special forces and how he lives in South-East Asia and commutes for his jobs.
- Animal Motifs: Wolves. Hell, he even looks like one!
- Badass in a Nice Suit: His flannel suit is tailored by, according to him, a very good tailor. Oh, and he's also a total badass.
- Bait the Dog: Most of Vincent nicer interactions with Max become this when we find out that his MO is to murder kidnapped cabbies and frame them for the hits he's committed, meaning he was always planning to kill Max from the word 'go.'
- Being Evil Sucks: There are hints throughout the film that Vincent doesn't like his work and that it's had a far greater effect on him than he would like to admit.
- Big Bad: Although he is hired by Felix, he is still the most prominent threat of the film and Max's archenemy.
- Combat Pragmatist: He's a brutal combatant who does anything he has to do to win a fight as we see in the night club where he uses a night stick, shatters one man's leg with a swift kick and stabs another in the leg when his gun is knocked out of his hand. Tom Cruise did extensive training in Krav Maga for the role, a fighting style with this as it's core principle.
- 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."
- 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 with utter calm.
- Genius Bruiser: He's a highly skilled planner and tactician as well as a charming and skilled manipulator and he's a lethal combatant, both with guns and his bare hands.
- The Gunslinger: Type D. His Quick Draw is amazing. It's even mentioned by one of the actors in the documentary.
- Hitman with a Heart: Subverted. He tries to convince Max he's this, saying he only kills bad people, "taking out the garbage." His daddy issues also serve to make him sympathetic. But then, Max learns the people Vincent's killing are witnesses for a case against a drug lord, and Vincent honestly has no qualms with it. We also learn from the cop that his MO is to take a taxi cab driver hostage to drive him around and then fake said driver's "suicide" after the other killings are done, implicating the dead man for the murders.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His overreliance in the Mozambique Drill (two shots to the chest, one to the head) backfires on him when he tries to use it on Max through two metro doors and fails, while Max's random full-auto fire gets through. Max was also using Vincent's H&K USP pistol, so it counts for double.
- I Just Want to Be Loved: In a very dark way. He seems to be so starved of meaningful human contact that he starts treating Max like an actual friend at points. While it's later revealed his MO is to kill his taxi driver at the end of the night, notable cracks in Vincent's facade start showing as he starts to talk more to Max, even opening up to him about his father. Note how defensive he gets in the aftermath of the nightclub shoot-out, where he actively encourages Max to yell at him to get something out of him. And when he visits Max's mother, she tells him the flowers he perfunctorily bought her are beautiful - at which point he visibly stops treating it like an exercise to maintain his cover and starts actually conversing with her and enjoying it.
- Iconic Outfit: Vincent's suit, which has appeared in quite a few video games.
- Implacable Man: He survives a serious 100MPH car crash, gets right up and runs off. Soon afterward he gets shot... in the head... and simply continues to chase after his quarry with only the slightest hit to his cohesion.
- 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.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Vincent is surprisingly sophisticated for a mass murdering hitman, and his love for jazz and his luxury suit make him this.
- Missing Mum: He mentions that his mother died before he could remember her.
- One-Man Army: As an assassin, Vincent mostly uses darkness and false pretence to get close to his targets. But when he has to, Vincent clears through a group of bodyguards quickly and calmly.
- Only One Name: Only ever referred to as "Vincent". Which is probably an alias anyway.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Oh boy.
- Vincent travels all the way with Max just to meet Max's mom, he even buys a flower! ...then he threatens to kill her, right to Max's face.
- In the nightclub shootout scene, Vincent saves Max's life, which is definitely not out of honor.
- His death as a whole can be considered this. Vincent is fatally wounded and has no ammunition left, so he'll just die anyway, even if he hadn't accepted death.
- Aaaand, to a certain extent, the entire film. Vincent was planning from the beginning to kill Max, and all of their interactions is just Vincent putting up an act.
- Professional Killer: He is an assassin, and quite an evil one at that."Max! I do this for a living!"
- Punch-Clock Villain: Vincent has few moral qualms about his work or wheter his victims are deserving of death. To him, it's just what he does for a living.
- Signature Move: Almost exclusively uses the Mozambique Drill. It ends up being the cause of his demise.
- Silver Fox: He has grey hair and he's played by Tom Cruise.
- The Sociopath: Vincent is described as such in-story. He ticks most of the boxes, but there are glimpses into his personality that does show conflict and maybe smidges of regret for what he does.
- 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.
- Or you can see him as an Übermensch, he is basically giving Max a vision of what his life could be like if he didn't play it safe all the time.Vincent: Someday? Someday my dream will come? One night you will wake up and discover it never happened. It's all turned around on you. It never will. Suddenly you are old. Didn't happen, and it never will, because you were never going to do it anyway. You'll push it into memory and then zone out in your barco lounger, being hypnotized by daytime TV for the rest of your life. Don't you talk to me about murder. All it ever took was a down payment on a Lincoln town car. That girl, you can't even call that girl. What the fuck are you still doing driving a cab?
- Or you can see him as an Übermensch, he is basically giving Max a vision of what his life could be like if he didn't play it safe all the time.
- Villain Protagonist: He has enough screentime to be considered this.
- Weapon of Choice: A Heckler & Koch USP .45 caliber pistol.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Has steely grey hair. The film commentary suggests it's that way prematurely.
- Wicked Cultured: He has a fairly extensive knowledge of jazz and really good taste in suits.
- Would Hit a Girl: His last target is Annie.
A taxi driver whom Vincent employs (and later holds hostage) to drive him to the locations of his targets.
- Action Survivor: Manages to survive the film, even being the one to take down Vincent.
- The Anti-Nihilist: He becomes one explicitly so that he can counter Vincent's nihilism.
- Clock King: He likes punctuality, precision and neatness. Unfortunately, it's why Vincent feels they make such a good team.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has an understated wit.
- Compulsive Liar: Max has managed to keep his mother at bay by persuading her he has actually set-up his limo company with an exclusive client list. Max does feel bad about it though.
- The Fettered: He is strongest when protecting someone he cares about (even if they just met).
- Glasses Pull: Which leads him to Becoming the Mask in front of Felix.
- My Beloved Smother: His mother places a great deal of pressure on him.
- Nice Guy: Very much so. He's quick to sympathise with people he's just met including Vincent's victims and goes out of his way to treat his customers well, even though driving a cab is "only temporary" for him. That treasured picture of a holiday resort he looks at whenever he needs to relax? He gives it to a stranger he's just met, because she's stressed out over her job and he can tell she needs it. Aw.
- Right Man in the Wrong Place: A civilian with no firearms training, defeats Vincent, a professional assassin who has already dispatched many cops and armed guards up to this point.
- 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: About two thirds through the movie when he has to pretend to be Vincent in front of gangster Felix. You can actually see the exact point in the film where he levels. He then takes another level or two when he deliberately crashes the cab at top speed, and then when he goes to rescue the lawyer. Made even more moving by the fact that Max turns Vincent's Straw Nihilist rhetoric on its head in a Shut Up, Hannibal! moment just before the crash. There's also a less—noticed level when Max takes the briefcase and runs, destroying it, even at the risk of his own life.
The lawyer prosecuting Felix Reyes-Torrena.
Det. Ray Fanning
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?
- Sacrificial Lion: Detective Fanning, the only one who believed Max's story and could have ended Vincent's mission without Max himself bloodying his hands.
- 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.
- The World's Expert on Getting Killed: While the other cops believe Max is the killer, Detective Fanning doesn't think so, in large part because he's familiar with another case in which a cab driver was suspected of a killing people under questionable circumstances. However, he's killed by Vincent before he gets a chance to prove his case.
Det. Richard Weidner
Ray's superior and partner in the LAPD.
A Mexican cartel drug lord who hires Vincent.
- Breaking Speech: When Max poses as Vincent, Felix gives him a pretty brutal speech that doesn't break Max in quite the way he probably intended, but does force him 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?
- The Cartel: He's in the cartel business, and the law is closing in on him.
- Evil Sounds Deep: As per Javier Bardem, he has a threatening baritone.
- Faux Affably Evil: Felix only stays polite for a short amount of time before showing his temper.
- 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.
- Man Behind the Man: Felix is the one who hired Vincent and put the entire night's events into motion.
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. Isn't that interesting, Max?
Agent Frank Pedrosa
An FBI agent staking out Felix Reyes-Torrena's club.