2017, PG-13, 99 min. Directed by Eran Creevy. Starring Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley, Marwan Kenzari.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., March 3, 2017
It’s a battle to the bitter end over which illustrious actor can ham it up the most, Sir Ben Kingsley or Sir Anthony Hopkins, in this four- and two-wheeled actioner that begs the question: How far would you go for the one you love if the one you love is a mediocre-at-best chase film so dumb it makes you long for the inclusion of anybody, literally anybody involved in the Fast and Furious franchise? I mean, even the second-unit dolly grip on virtually any F&F hyperkinetic crash-’em-up would have surely enlivened the proceedings here, but the real blame rests fully at the feet of director Creevy and his co-screenwriter F. Scott Frazier (who penned the far more inventive xXx: Return of Xander Cage and should thus know better).
Hoult, who was infinitely more engaged in his role as War Boy Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road, is small-time crook Casey, and Jones (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is the met-cute-in-Cologne love of his life, none too subtly named Juliette. Bad boy Casey, with his genre necessitated generic heart of gold intact, has lately been in the employ of Kingsley’s gleefully over-the-top-and-back-down-the-bottom Turkish gangster Geran, who, I kid you not, loves nothing more than repeated viewings of the 1985 John Travolta/Jamie Lee Curtis health club train wreck Perfect while surrounded by nekkid ladies. I like to look at this as a brash, brave, and quietly intense performance strikingly similar to Kingsley’s Oscar-winning turn in Gandhi, if Mahatma Gandhi had actually been a chimera clone of Muammar Gaddafi and El Chapo sent from the future to prevent Sir Kingsley’s Trump-esque appearance in Self/less [Note to producer Joel Silver: Call me. Trust me. We can make this happen.]
Long story short and perhaps slightly more entertaining, Juliette desperately needs a pricey new kidney, Geran wants an 18-wheeler filled with golf balls which are in turn filled with cocaine which belongs to Sir Hopkins’ Teutonic kingpin Hagen Kahl, and Casey, along with pal Matthias (Kenzari), is thus the keystone to wealth, health, and Sir Hopkins’ smoke break from Westworld. Golf balls? Ingenious.
The real drama (and oh, so many gearhead tears) in Collide comes from the gorgeously manslaughtered visions of automotive excellence involved in the title action, among them Jaguar F-Types, a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster, a Ferrari 360 Spider, and an Aston Martin Vanquish. Unfortunately, director Creevy, working with director of photography Ed Wild, stages too much of the 200kmh white-line chaos with too little visual flair. An aggressively choreographed pursuit on the Autobahn – also the film’s original title – is inventively shot even if the hero is driving a relatively budget-conscious Renault Megane Wagon.
It’s all as preposterous as the (OK, frankly awesome) monologue/appreciation of Burt Reynolds’ buff bod in Deliverance that Kingsley’s crime boss delivers straight(-ish), but in the end, Collide is a cheap genre product produced with an eye on foreign market box office. Wake me when Dominic Toretto torques his way into Havana.