Friday, August 18, 2017

Collide: A Cheap Fast and Furious Ripoff and Disappointing

Movie Review: Collide (2016)
Version: Library borrow

Collide turned out to be the second of two bad movies of a double feature at home. I would call it a cheap Fast and Furious ripoff, with Nicholas Hoult as down-and-out American Casey Stein trying to reboot his life of poor choices in Germany, where he meets bar keep Juiliette (played by Felicity Jones). She isn't into this loser, but he inserts himself into her life and he promises to change his ways as an errand boy for East European Geran (played by Ben Kingsley), which he does by quitting that work and working in a metal reclamation center. Then Casey learns that Juiliette is seriously ill and as an American she isn't covered for the kidney transplant she needs to stay alive and requires six-figure money fast. So he rejoins Geran in a scheme to heist drugs and cash from money laundering kingpin Hagen Kahl (played exquisitely by Anthony Hopkins). From there, the story becomes a car chase movie with smoke and mirrors, but without the ensemble cast of a Fast and Furious.

I said that Anthony Hopkins is exquisite as Kahl. If there is a saving grace to the movie, it is Hopkins who, as ever, is the consummate professional actor giving depth and range to his character. There are hints of Hannibal Lecter from Hannibal as well as William Parrish from Meet Joe Black in this character. He is menacing in parts, elegant and patrician in others. Contrast him with Ben Kingsley who, fine actor as he has been, seems to have become stereotyped as these slimy accented characters with little dimension. In Collide, he plays a caricature of a character, almost a comic relief to Kahl. Geran could have been so much more dangerous, so much more threatening, so much more scheming. There is also not all that much depth to the Juilette character. Casey gets by as a schemer and it isn't until the end that we find out he's really much smarter than he lets on. And this is probably as much a scripting problem as an acting one. For an actor, it's in the portrayal, in the facial expressions, in the voice and pauses. In the script, it's the situations created and the dialogue provided. In Collide, the script certainly failed.

The big reveal at the end is plainly a cheat. Again, this is a scripting problem. Why wait till the end to surprise your audience? Why not give us hints along the way so we can say, "Ah, yes, now it makes sense!" Instead, we say, "Oh, thanks, now you tell us!" Perhaps the title Collide is about the collision between audience expectations and reality when you get to the end of a disappointing movie.

Viewer beware: Watch Collide at your own risk. Perhaps fast forward to the Anthony Hopkins parts and you will be just fine. Otherwise, I suggest you give it a skip.

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