It’s taken almost a year and a half, but Collide is finally seeing the light of day. Filmed in 2014 and originally set for release in the fall of 2015, the film fell victim to the bankruptcy filing of its original distributor, Relativity Media. A year later, Open Road snapped it up, and after three more delays, here we are.
If only we weren’t.
Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Ben Kingsley, and Anthony Hopkins lead the talented cast, but unfortunately they don’t have a talented screenwriter behind them. In all fairness, Hoult and Jones can be forgiven for their participation. Hoult only really had X-Men: First Class and Warm Bodies to his credit (along with About a Boy, obviously) when he took the role, and Jones signed on before we saw her breakout performance in The Theory of Everything. Kinglsey and Hopkins, though, should have known better.
A wham-bang heist picture that actually ends up feeling more like the world’s longest car chase, Collide stars Hoult as Casey, an American kid dealing drugs in Germany. After meeting fellow American Juliette (Jones), he agrees to go clean and settle down, but as is often the case, “one last job” pulls him back in. After learning that Juliette is in dire need of a kidney transplant (random, but…okay), he decides the only way to save her is to score a huge wad of cash pulling off a big-time heist. And it just so happens that his supplier Geran (Kingsley) is fed up with not getting what he feels is an equal share of the profits from druglord Hagen Karl (Hopkins), a wealthy trucking magnate who deals outlandish amounts of cocaine on the side. Geran is happy to hire Casey to steal a semi full of cocaine from Hagen; the kid gets the money he needs, and Geran gets his revenge.
Guess what doesn’t go exactly as planned?
Hagen’s goons are quickly chasing down Casey after catching him in the act, Juliette is coming home to find other goons waiting there to kidnap her in retaliation, and Geran is obliviously neck-deep in hookers and drugs and is no help at all.
To be fair there are actually plenty of moments that make Collide entertaining, including a nifty little, tightly-choreographed car chase through the tiny cobblestone streets of Monschau, and from there it’s onto the Autobahn, where things pick up even more speed. Throughout the whole film, though, Casey is frazzled and panicked (and ridiculously bulletproof), and Hagen is chasing after him like a sophisticated tortoise confident he’ll eventually reach the hare. Eventually the whole charade gets tiresome, and I found myself just wanting it to come to an end, and it didn’t matter how.
Director Eran Creevy (Welcome to the Punch) has a decent eye, and beyond the snazzy car chases, he shows glimmers of promise during quieter moments, especially when he gives some context to Casey and Juliette’s blossoming relationship. But Collide can’t get out from under the weight of its lumbering, schlocky script. Screenwriter F. Scott Frazier (xXx: Return of Xander Cage), who shared the duties with Creevy, relies on so much trite, hammy dialogue that it would be surprising if any or all of the cast didn’t at some point wonder what they had gotten themselves into.
Sure Hopkins and his castmates do what they can with what they’re given, but my heavens–they should have just given it back and walked away…which would save you from possibly wanting to do the same thing as you watch.