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edge staff writer


Even the best fall down sometimes – ‘Collide’

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Long-delayed action movie falters despite talented cast

Most of the time, regardless of whether a film is good or bad, it’s fairly easy to tell how and why it was made. Whether it’s a passion project or awards bait or a cash grab or a franchise continuation – or some combination therein – you can understand the process that led to its creation.

However, you’ll occasionally find a movie whose very existence is confusing. These are the movies where it’s nigh impossible to even imagine the set of circumstances that led to people making them.

Movies like “Collide.”

This car chase/heist/love story has been floating in distribution limbo for well over two years – the initial release date was in October of 2015, but was subsequently pushed back four separate times before finally stumbling into theaters. And as you might guess from its lengthy journey, it isn’t what you’d call a good movie.

Casey Stein (Nicholas Hoult, “X-Men: Apocalypse”) is an American expat with a shady criminal past currently living in Germany. He and his partner Matthias (Marwan Kenzari, “Ben-Hur”) work as drug dealers for a track-suited techno-loving Turkish lunatic named Geran (Ben Kingsley, “The Jungle Book”).

But when Casey meets bartender (and fellow American) Juliette Marne (Felicity Jones, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), he decides that he’s going to give up his criminal life and walk the straight and narrow so that he can be with her. However, their love story soon veers into tragedy; Juliette has a medical condition that requires a kidney transplant – an operation that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In need of money, Casey goes back to Geran, who is looking to find a way to exact revenge on his longtime partner Hagen Kahl (Anthony Hopkins, TV’s “Westworld”). And so, Casey and Matthias cook up an elaborate plot to steal one of Kahl’s trucks that is packed with cocaine-filled golf balls from Chile, because that’s the kind of movie we’re talking about here.

Of course, things quickly go off the rails. Casey has to figure out a way to avoid Kahl’s goons and rescue Juliette before the bad guys find her first. This involves a lot of car chases. Now, you might think that you understand when I say a lot of car chases, but you do not. This is A LOT of car chases. There are bad guys on all sides and Casey has only his wits and his implausibly excellent driving skills to save him and the love of his life.

I’ll freely admit to having no idea how this movie came to be. Director Eran Creevy (who also co-wrote the screenplay) had only two prior credits to his name, neither of which seems strong enough to have warranted the assemblage of what can only be described as a ridiculously talented cast. Creevy is clearly a guy who really likes cars – specifically making them go fast and/or crashing them – and that seems to be the primary inspiration for the film.

Extended sequences of high-speed highway driving interspersed with occasional interludes of hackneyed dialogue, clichés and wildly unlikely situations – that’s what you get with “Collide.”

Which leads to the biggest question of all – how did this cast wind up in this movie? What sort of diabolical contract did these people enter into to wind up in this pile of flashy nonsense? Just how many bodies did Eran Creevy help bury?

Hoult and Jones are incredible talents, but both are woefully miscast. They’re hard to buy as lovers and even harder to buy as Americans. Hoult is asked to carry large chunks of the film solo, but there’s just not enough substance for him to hold onto. It should be noted, however, that while neither Hopkins nor Kingsley gives what could honestly be called a “good” performance, both men are utterly fascinating in what they bring to the table. Hopkins gives a variation on the even-keeled borderline monotone that has marked much of his more recent work, only he punctuates it with out-of-nowhere shouted line readings that seem almost random. Meanwhile, Kingsley is so over-the-top bats—t that it’s difficult not to be charmed, despite the fact that his accent is the only thing more ridiculous than the plot.

This is a bad movie that probably should have stayed relegated to the shadows. No doubt the film’s stars would agree. That being said, there’s something oddly entertaining about the whole mess; watching the many, MANY mistakes play out is fascinating. If nothing else, the unintentional comedy makes it almost worth seeing.

“Collide” is much like a car crash itself – horrible to see, yet oddly difficult to look away from.

[2 out of 5]


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