Badass Decay: Vincent goes from being a cold-calculating hitman who can perform the improbable aiming feat mentioned below to a simple thug with a gun when he goes after Max, a common cabbie. Since the movie didn't want to have a The Bad Guy Wins ending, they suddenly gave Vincent a course in the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Possibly justified since Vincent has been shot in the ear right before the climactic chase, causing him to undergo something of a villanous breakdown. In the final shootout on the MTA train, Vincent's trained, straight shooting ends up hitting the part of the metal door between the two windows, whereas Max's untrained, relatively chaotic shooting ends up penetrating the windows and (eventually) hitting Vincent.
Evil Is Cool: Vincent dresses himself in some badass threads, is dangerously efficient as his job (case in point), has a fairly extensive knowledge of jazz, and is pretty friggin' handsome. But as the film goes on, it's shown how empty and messed up he is.
Fanon: A common bit of viewer speculation is that the unnamed man played by Jason Statham who pops up in a cameo at the beginning to give Vincent his current assignment is the same character that Statham plays in The Transporter and its sequels.
Foe Yay Shipping: Vincent/Max is a popular pairing in fanfics. Someone might have been banking on that when it came to the trailers.
Magnificent Bastard: The enigmatic, philosophical Villain Protagonist "Vincent", is a ruthless yet suave Professional Killer, tasked with eliminating witnesses to the crimes of drug lord Felix Reyes-Torrena. Bribing taxi driver Max Durocher to unwittingly assist him, Vincent has Max transport him while he murders his targets. Genuinely affable, Vincent respectfully listens to the story of a jazz club owner before offing him and visits Max's sick mother in the hospital, even bringing her flowers. Adapting when Max destroys the files on his targets, Vincent has Max retrieve a new copy from Felix, both keeping his anonymity and leading the police to mistakenly believe Max is him. Fatally wounded by Max while hunting his last target, Vincent chooses to calmly accept his fate, giving Max some parting words before passing.
One-Scene Wonder: The film does not hesitate in showing some very interesting colorful characters that overshadow protagonists Max and Vincent. Or just appearing on screen is enough.
Jason Statham in the very first scene at the airport giving the briefcase to Vincent. It's very unexpected yet cool.
Max's mother, played by Irma P. Hall the Ensemble Dark Horse of The Ladykillers (2004) remake released the same year. A sick elder woman who constantly does not see the good in her son. It's both funny thanks to Hall's performance and sad for Max's development.
Relationship Writing Fumble: More like an acting-fumble. Related to the Ho Yay Shipping/Foe Yay Shipping above, some of the scenes between Max and Vincent come off as less Max is being held hostage and more this a new relationship where Max is being cautious and trying to take things slow while Vincent is already heavily invested. The hospital scene where Vincent insists on buying flowers for Max's mother, says he likes to think of himself as Max's friend, and is all for hearing about Max from Ida until a clearly embarrassed, irritated Max steals his important briefcase is probably the best example. Up until the ensuing chase scene, the scene could easily fit into a romantic genre film. Even the scene directly before it where Max refuses, "I'm not taking you to see my mother," and Vincent responds, "Since when was any of this negotiable?" comes off as less 'nope, not taking a hitman to see my mother/dude, I can easily turn you into one of my targets,' and more, 'I'm not taking this white guy I just started dating to see my sick, old mother/I'm going to meet your mother, and she's going to love me. We're boyfriends, and that means you don't get to keep me out of the truly important parts of your life.'
The briefcase scene, due to Cruise's outright scary speed and efficiency he uses to take down some thugs.
The nightclub, thanks to the music and chaotic usage of colors.
Spiritual Successor: A ruthless, unstoppable killer tracking down victims on the streets of L.A. at night? This film really reminded a lot of viewers of The Terminator, particularly the nightclub shoot-out. In fact, James Cameron originally intended the Terminator to be a normal looking guy so he'd blend into crowds better (he originally wanted to cast Lance Henriksen), so Michael Mann arguably made an homage to his original concept.
The Woobie: Poor, poor Max. He goes through a lot of shit in the movie, and who knows how he is at the end even if he did take a huge level in badass. Thank God he befriended a prosecutor because all the shit he did in the movie is probably gonna land him in some legal trouble.