The film should have collided with a concrete wall
I have to admit, we have been spoiled my children. The first three months of the year usually don’t have this many good movies at once. Usually, we got some of the worst pieces of crap imaginable. But Hollywood must have seen my enjoyment and said, “Chris is having too good of a time, let’s shit all over it.” And lo’ did they spread their ass cheeks wide and unleash a turd like no other. A big steaming pile of dung that suckered me with high-quality of actors wasting their time on yet another boring-ass action film. This is an honest-to-God straight-to-VHS (how DARE you waste the technology of DVD on this?!) nonsense that snuck itself into a theater for the world to see.
Our erstwhile protagonist is Nicholas Hoult as Casey, an American “thug” (for he is far too pretty and clean to be working into the criminal underworld) living in Germany and boosting cars under the thumb of Turkish mob boss, Geran (Ben Kingsley). However, on a whim, Casey abandons his whole life of crime because the girl he likes, Juliette (Felicity Jones), disapproves of the lifestyle. So they trot off together to become happy in love until Juliette finds herself with a failing kidney. Refusing to let her die, Casey returns to Geran for more work to pay for a kidney transplant in the States. Only Geran suckers Casey into his own vendetta against ultra powerful drug lord and wannabe super villain, Hagen (Anthony Hopkins), by attempting a stupid ass robbery of over millions of dollars in a plan that is brazen in its stupidity.
“Now that doesn’t sound so bad,” you may be thinking, “I’m pretty sure Chris has seen dumber plots in the Fast & Furious series but he doesn’t mind them much.” Except Fast & Furious is goddamn Shakespeare next to this trite. Look, action movies can appeal to its audiences in a variety of ways: having interesting and never-before-seen stunts, putting deep and flawed characters through the wringer, and/or having a sense of style that elevates the material into something more classy. There are tons of examples that pull this off well, but there are so many more that fail to engage you in any way, shape or form. Say hello to the latest entry on this list.
Alright, for a film titled “Collide” and featuring a lot of car chases, you expect to see some well shot getaways. Except Collide was apparently shot by someone who had no freaking idea how to film a chase scene. Instead, you’re treated to lots of swerves on the highway in one scene, and only two major car crashes that looked like some bloody effort went into making it feel authentic. The rest of the film are flatly shot car chases that reminded me more of Spcectre. And if you think a comparison to a James Bond flick is favorable, do note that I thought Spectre was one of the worst films in the 50 plus history of the character. One of the many reasons I hated it was because I thought the car chases were boring and unimaginative, kind of like this piece of trite.
And when you do have fight scenes to escape the monotony of the chases, the real snooze begins. People think that throwing a punch is all you need to do when trying to capture a combat sequence, but you’re shooting it with one random quick cut after another, you have a big ol’ sloppy mess where you can’t make out what the hell is going on.
But maybe (possibly) the film could have been saved if you had a decent main character to follow with a relatable goal and….hahahahahaha. I can’t even type that shit with a straight face. Casey is an uninteresting cardboard cutout of a criminal hero. He opens up the film with his narration that he’d would do anything for the one he loves; except when you see him interact with his girlfriend, you don’t buy for an instant that these two even like each other. The way they even say “I love you” is delivered so bizarrely awkwardly that I think both actors actively refused to say their line with any passion out of protest against this hack script.
At least that’s all I can tell myself to explain why the hell Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones are so phenomenally bad in this. I’ve seen both thespians deliver solid performances in genre flicks before, so it’s not like the material is beneath them or they just can’t act. But this script is so hackneyed and riddled with plot holes, cliché, and contrivance that I think both actors just coasted until their sentence was up and they could fire their respective agents. Which was probably for the best since this whole production was shot back in 2015 and languished on the cutting room floor because no one could find a distributor for this bullshit. But likely because Hoult and Jones are bigger names thanks to their respective franchises, and because Anthony Hopkins just wrapped up his stint on Westworld, the film gained traction for a nationwide release once more.
Speaking of which, I’m not certain what drugs Hopkins was smoking when he agreed to do this, but I would implore that he refer me to his dealer for substances that would lead me to not give one micorgram of a fuck. He’s…he’s kind of amazing in this in a hysterically bad villain performance in the proud tradition of Raul Julia in Street Fighter, Jeremy Irons in Dungeons & Dragons, or Frank Langella in Masters of the Universe. Hopkins goes for straight up super villain as he twirls a nonexistent moustache in fucking with every character he comes across. I’d say to just check out YouTube clips of him to get an idea of what I’m talking about, because sitting through the rest of the aforementioned garbage is simply not worth it. Still, seeing Hopkins lose his proverbial shit in this mess was at the very least an entertaining sight when everything was torture.
Less fun, but even more bizarre than Hopkins, was watching Ben Kingsley as a strung out mob boss. Here he’s just embarrassing himself in a role (while not quite as bad as his turn in The Love Guru) that seems to be demanding an over-the-top nature in a film that is nowhere near as crazy as its name or its script implies. And ultimately, that’s what dooms the film. It’s being advertised as a cheesy action-romp packed with style, similar to that of John Wick, but is as entertaining as the abysmal The Assignment.
It’s a film that claims to be all style, but actually looks like a soggy paper bag containing dogshit. It’s a film that wants to show off clever chases, but is failing to compete against watching paint dry as a legitimately entertaining activity. And it’s a film that boasts an impressive cast, but absolutely wastes each and every one of them on a script that would have gotten an “F” in any screenwriting class. I won’t prolong this film’s suffering any further, so this is getting from me a…
SOME OL’ BULLSHIT