David Ayer's gritty drama The Tax Collector has received its first set of reviews, and sadly it's not looking too good.
Starring Shia LaBeouf as a 'tax collector' called Creeper – tattooing his chest for the role – he roams the Los Angeles streets with Bobby Soto's David Cuevas for crime lord Wizard, hoovering up profits from local gangs.
Video: ‘The Tax Collector’ trailer
When their employer's old rival returns from Mexico, things turn more dangerous than they ever could have imagined.
Directed by Suicide Squad's Ayer, who previously worked with LaBeouf on 2014's Fury, the new film has been branded "atrocious", "barely coherent" and a "boring kind of bad".
Below, you'll find snippets from some of the reviews doing the rounds:
"While End of Watch [another Ayer movie] was a tense, tough thriller that created a believable bond between [Jake] Gyllenhaal and [Michael] Pena's characters, The Tax Collector is wilder, messy and altogether less convincing. It trots out a lot of posturing and a lot of gang-movie clichés but flails instead of giving us much reason to care."
"In writer-director David Ayer's bland LA crime saga about a pair of drug lord minions caught in the crosshairs of a larger war, LaBeouf stares and struts his way through a cartoonish and culturally insensitive performance as a troublemaking thug named Creeper that most certainly did not require him to get his character's name tattooed across his chest.
"When The Tax Collector finds a steadier purpose as a taut revenge thriller, it's mostly just a slog of vulgar threats and violent outbursts, trading substance for anger until the credits bring some measure of peace."
"For the most part, it's just the boring kind of bad that evinces sloppy and confused direction more than spectacular failure: awkward character introductions, corny dialogue, pacing issues.
"As with a number of Ayer films, its best claim to authenticity is that it depicts its subjects exactly as they would want to be depicted - that is, above mere mortals in their camaraderie and indifference to violence. If one is going to make something this cliché, though, they should at least try to do a good job."
"Bloody, barely coherent and about as fun as having your face dragged across asphalt from a moving SUV."
"One of the most atrocious viewing experiences of the year, The Tax Collector relies on a trite visual language built on obvious flashbacks and bland imagery that match the unimaginatively dreadful writing where every Latino in sight is a gangster."
"The Tax Collector bears imprints of more successful films like Dragged Across Concrete and Triple 9 - modern examples that prove that this kind of movie can work - but in this instance, Ayer cannot bring his talents to bear to make it happen.
"Even if one may enjoy the first two acts, they will likely recoil from the third - and even if you find joy in the third (as I sometimes did), it cannot help but feel shoddy and frantic in comparison to the cool, confident earlier sections."
It wasn't entirely bad though, as some found things to like about its approach...
"David Ayer's The Tax Collector is worth a look for the ways it pulls together a small scale production with outsize ambitions. Bolstered by a diverse and interesting cast of a kind we don't see nearly enough, it paints a vivid portrait of the seedier side of the Los Angeles underworld.
"Unfortunately, the scale of those ambitions is done a disservice by an undercooked story that goes through too-familiar paces to arrive at a too-familiar outcome, without enough variations in the formula to make it truly memorable in its own right."
The Tax Collector is out now in the US digitally on demand.
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