Great Uses of Songs in Movies: Paul Oakenfold’s “Ready Steady Go” in Collateral

This song has been use elsewhere but in Collateral, Ready Steady Go is perfect since it sets up the whole scene and creates an aura of danger that is undeniably tense and ready to pop off at any moment. The movie is moderately-paced really until it needs to speed up, which is when a kill is about to be made. Each time Vincent is ready execute one of his targets the scene begins to get a little more tense until the climax when Vincent finally gets his target. Unfortunately for Max he happens to be Vincent’s driver and is being paid, and threatened, into carting the killer throughout his rounds during the course of the night.

This particular scene in the club is already tense since Vincent’s agenda has already been revealed to Max and the very real threat exists that if Max does anything that Vincent tells him not to he’ll be killed along with several innocent civilians. Plus, the FBI and a vicious gang that has been working with Vincent, and an LAPD detective, are all trying to catch Vincent in the act while acquiring his target. It’s a general mess that only a song like this could really bring to full life since the hectic nature of it demands a hard, almost chaotic-sounding beat that underlies the action and feeds into the chaos that becomes the dance floor when Vincent goes to work.

He’s brutally efficient too and as the music ramps up you can see that he knows how to get the job done. He dispatches the bodyguards first after seeing his target and sending Max off, and then makes his way towards the table where his target is sitting. Along the way however the FBI enter the building and start looking for Max, who they think is Vincent, while the gang that hired Vincent also enters and begins to look for him. It’s a giant mess that’s only made worse when the shooting starts and people start dropping. Vincent doesn’t waste any time when it comes to his business and takes out a couple of more guards before he finally reaches his target, double-tapping him with a shot to the heart and one to the head. With the job being completed he departs, and even shoots the detective that by that point had already managed to spirit Max away to safety.

Vincent’s reliance on Max is that he needs a driver and in some case a patsy for the night. He’s paying Max well, but he’s also dragging the poor cabbie into a mess that he won’t be likely to explain away so easily. From the first kill to the final confrontation between Max and Vincent the movie is a thrill ride that lets you rest in between but still keeps you entertained as you await the next action scene. The dance club scene is perhaps an easy tie for being the best kill scene, since the one in the jazz club is just straight up brutal.

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