By: Oberst von Berauscht (Five Beers) –
Casey (Nicholas Hoult) leaves his job as a car thief to be with Juliette (Felicity Jones) and attempts to go straight. But when Juliette becomes sick and needs a kidney transplant, Casey takes one last job to get the money to pay for her procedure. Turkish gangster Geran (Ben Kingsley) hires him to steal the cocaine shipment truck of his partner Hagen Kahl (Anthony Hopkins). Things don’t quite go as planned, and soon Casey finds himself on the run for his life, with his girlfriend in the clutches of Kahl.
Collide has one singular thing keeping it from being unwatchable; and that is casting Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley as rival gangsters. Both Kingsley and Hopkins could be accused of slumming it here, but they are having a ball. Kingsley portrays his character as a gangster so hopped up on drugs he’s basically incoherent most of the time, and loves to act and dress in a flashy, bawdy fashion that is impossible to not find amusing.
Hopkins on the other hand is given dialogue that seems completely based on famous quotations by literary figures from history, and he delivers them like a pro. Both actors know exactly what they are doing here, and thankfully they are given enough screen time to keep things interesting.
I have to commend the film for having action sequences that actually make sense. The car stunts are thrilling and they are shot so that it feels like real stunt-work is taking place. And there aren’t too many extreme close-ups that hide the lack of fight choreography.
Nicholas Hoult is given the thankless role of taking this story seriously and being the audience’s main guide throughout. Ultimately this was a film that desperately needed a charismatic lead performance, and Hoult doesn’t seem to be able to carry the weight. This is a film that demands a Jason Statham-like actor, someone who can command the screen and also convincingly feel like someone who has ideas hidden up his sleeve. Hoult plays his character like a buffoon who makes a series of bad decisions.
And speaking of those bad decisions, the film’s climax features a reveal that a genius plan was in place all along. This stands in stark contrast to the choices made by that character throughout the rest of the movie. In fact, basically everything that happens in this film could have been avoided by simply revealing this “backup plan” at the first sign of things going wrong. Granted, it wouldn’t have been a very long movie, but it would have made sense.
Felicity Jones is terrible as Juliette in this movie. She gave a performance so wooden that I thought she was going to warp and split. While the dialogue isn’t exactly Shakespeare, that is no excuse for the emotionless, alien line delivery she gives here. This might be somewhat forgivable if Jones was already a bad actress, but films such as A Monster Calls show she’s got chops. Perhaps she just simply wasn’t into it here?
During action sequences, the director chose to throw in numerous flashback/hallucination shots where Casey sees Juliette next to him. These art-house touches are weirdly out of place in what is otherwise a big dumb action movie.
Collide is a seriously stupid movie. But through the strength of a couple hilarious performances by seasoned actors, it manages to be an entertaining one…
Collide (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: when Anthony Hopkins quotes literature
Take a Drink: when Ben Kingsley points his gun at things or talks about drugs
Drink a Shot: for crappy voiceover
Drink a Shot: for out of place flashbacks/hallucinations