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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Collide

Even with a generic title like Collide, it's amazing how banal of an action film this is.  It not only lacks distinction, but it lacks any real motivation, or a reason to be drawn into the film.  It's competently made, but that's about the best that can be said about it.  With a talented cast that includes the likes of Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley, you can only wonder what they did to entertain themselves while they were making this.

The plot kicks off by introducing us to a young couple in love living in Germany.  Casey (Nicholas Hoult) used to be a drug dealer, but the moment he saw Juliette (Felicity Jones), that life ended for him.  He's cleaned up his act, left his past behind, and now wants nothing more than to be a devoted boyfriend to the love of his life.  There is some chemistry between Hoult and Jones, and I liked them as a couple.  Then, potential tragedy strikes.  Turns out Juliette is very ill, and the only way to save her life is for her to undergo a very expensive kidney transplant that can only be done in the United States, and they don't have the money for it.  The way Casey sees it, the only way to get the money they need is to do one last job for his former boss, a loopy drug lord with a passion for 80s movies named Geran (Ben Kingsley, being very unhinged and occasionally funny).  The mission Casey has to fulfill is to steal some drugs from Geran's supplier, a business tycoon named Hagen Kahl (Anthony Hopkins), who is secretly one of the most powerful drug lords in the world.

Collide obviously wants to be a white-knuckle thriller, with Casey constantly being on the run, as he first tries to steal the drugs, then has to stay one step ahead of Hagen Kahl and his henchmen, and ultimately has to figure out a way to keep Juliette safe when she gets dragged into all of this.  The thing is, the action sequences are not grand enough to grab out attention.  I would like to use the recent John Wick: Chapter 2 as an example as to how a movie like this should be done.  In that movie, the action builds out of the situation its hero finds himself in, and it just grows so much to the point that it feels like the whole world is against him.  Here, we never get that sense of exhilaration that a movie like this needs to succeed.  The action is perfunctory and going through the motions, giving us the same old car chases and shootouts that we've seen far too often.  This is the rare action film where the early romantic moments between the hero and his girlfriend are more exciting than what happens during the actual plot. 

The only time the movie ever comes to life is when Kingsley is on the screen, as he brings a sense of manic humor to his role that maybe the movie needed more of.  He also seems to be the only one who was allowed to have fun while shooting this.  In the role of the main antagonist, Anthony Hopkins mostly is required to monologue, as well as occasionally pointing a gun at someone while monologueing.  He's not being used well here, and he seems to know it, which would explain the somewhat empty performance he gives here.  As I mentioned before, Hoult and Jones do have some chemistry in their early scenes, but once the action kicks in, that goes out the window.  Hoult is basically required to run from one set piece to another, while Jones disappears for large portions, only to return in the third act just so she can provide really nothing of substance.  I can only hope she was paid well for her little amount of work.

If there is an audience for this movie, I honestly can't think of it.  It's the kind of movie that does nothing really terrible, while at the same time never once attempting anything new or interesting.  It exists, it will likely be forgotten before too long, and that's really all that needs to be said.

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