Collateral appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Various photographic choices occasionally made the film look less than stellar, but the transfer accurately represented the source.
Shot mainly on an early hi-def video camera, Collateral could show those limitations. Mainly, the movie “looked video”, and it came with slightly mushy delineation at times.
Still, despite my dislike of the film’s basic visual impression, overall sharpness felt good. Though a little softness appeared along the way, the vast majority of the flick appeared reasonably tight and concise.
I noticed no jaggies or moiré effects, and the image also lacked edge enhancement. Some video artifacts occasionally in low-light shots made things a little grainy, but the transfer didn’t suffer from any source flaws.
Colors opted for a largely standard mix of orange and teal, with occasional splashes of other tones. Also related to the camera choices, these didn’t look great, but the Blu-ray appeared to reproduce them as desired.
Blacks were dense and tight much of the time, and shadows usually seemed clear and smooth. Again, the video elements could make these a bit thick, but they were good most of the time. This ended up as a “B” presentation.
I also liked the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Collateral. With a lot of action scenes, the movie got quite a few opportunities to take advantage of the five channels.
While it didn’t use them in a super-active manner, it still managed to flesh out its settings well. Gunfire and vehicles cropped up in logical locations and blended together nicely.
Audio quality worked well. Speech was concise and natural, and music sounded strong, as the score seemed vivid and dynamic throughout the film.
Effects appeared accurate and full, with good clarity and impact. Though the track could’ve been a little more involving, it was still quite good.
We get a nice collection of extras here, and these launch with an audio commentary from director Michael Mann. He provides a running, screen-specific look at what led him to the project, story and characters, photography, sets and locations, and related domains.
Though generally informative, the commentary becomes a little spotty because Mann occasionally just narrates the film. He spends a lot of time with observations about the story and characters more than filmmaking elements.
That said, Mann brings some nice insights to that side of the tale, especially when he gets into the backstories he and the actors created for their roles. Ultimately, this becomes a worthwhile track but not a consistently strong one.
Called City of Night, a documentary lasts 40 minutes, 59 seconds and involves notes from Mann, screenwriter Stuart Beattie, technical advisor Mick Gould, stunt coordinator Joel Kramer, production designer David Wasco, picture car coordinator Cyril O’Neil, composers James Newton Howard and Antonio Pinto, and actors Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Barry Shabaka Henley and Mark Ruffalo.
“Night” examines story and characters, cast and performances, stunts and action, photography and camera choices, sets and locations and music. It offers a fairly broad and engaging view of the production.
Special Delivery runs one minute, nine seconds and shows an attempt by Cruise to blend in with a crowd in real life. Mann narrates and tells us about this event as we watch. It’s not illuminating but it entertains.
One Deleted Scene spans one minute, 57 second. It shows aspects of the cat and mouse chase elements in the film. It becomes a decent sequence but not anything crucial.
The deleted scene comes with non-optional commentary from Mann, as he gives us some details and relates why he cut the piece. He offers useful notes, though I’d prefer the chance to watch the scene without the commentary.
A self-explanatory extra, next we see Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx Rehearse. In this four-minute, 13-second clip, Mann gives us brief notes, but mainly we watch our leads do a run-through of some scenes. Richard T. Jones also briefly appears as “Traffic Cop #1”.
We also get to contrast the rehearsals to some final shots. This becomes a fun addition.
Next comes Shooting on Location, a two-minute, 34-second piece. We see footage from the production and hear Mann as he discusses his choices and details. We get a few useful insights.
Visual FX: MTA Train lasts two minutes, 27 seconds and gives us a look at how the original green screen footage came to life as a subway ride. Mann offers more notes and this turns into a decent look at the methods and choices.
Two trailers finish the disc. We get both the teaser and the theatrical promo.
With a lot of prominent talent both in front of and behind the camera, Collateral raises expectations. For the most part, it doesn’t disappoint, as the movie becomes a lively and involving thriller. The Blu-ray brings fairly good picture and audio along with a mix of supplements. Collateral offers one of Michael Mann’s more engaging efforts.