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It's almost impressive how Collide goes from being a cinematic tale void of any originality or personality to being so mind-numbingly stupid that you spend as much time checking your watch as looking at the screen.
As you can probably guess from that brief summation, Collide is not an enjoyable experience. With the likes of Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Ben Kingsley, and Anthony Hopkins in its cast, it would be easy to lay the blame firmly at Eran Creevy's door, as he directed the film and co-wrote it with F. Scott Frazier, who also devised the story.
In Collide, Nicholas Hoult leads the way as Casey Stein, a small time drug dealer that works alongside Matthias (Marwan Kenzari) for the Turkish crime lord Geran (Ben Kingsley). But after making googly eyes with bartender Juliette (Felicity Jones), Hoult decides to pack in his devious ways for a romance with the woman of his dreams.
There's just one little problem, Juliette needs a kidney transplant, and after leaving his job, the duo are quite a way short of the €250,000 they need for the operation. Casey decides to briefly return to his life of crime for one big score, as he and Matthias concoct a plan for Geran to rob millions of Euros of cocaine from Hagen Kahl (Anthony Hopkins).
Despite the ensemble's obvious talents, they fail to paper over Collide's many, many cracks. Sure the script is so far from great that it's actually diabolical, but there's a distinct lack of chemistry between Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones, which isn't helped by their horrifically generic American accents, as they fail to provide the necessary backbone to the story.
The responsibility for this failure rests on Nicholas Hoult's shoulders. After Jack The Giant Slayer, Warm Bodies, Kill Your Friends, Equals, and now Collide it has become apparent that he lacks the innate qualities to be a leading man. Don't get me wrong, he still has skills. His supporting roles in X-Men, Mad Max: Fury Road, and A Single Man prove that. But like Zac Efron, he can't command your attention as the main presence of a film. Felicity Jones actually makes more of an impression during the second half of the film when she's on the phone with Hoult and not sharing the same shot, even though her screen-time is more than halved.
But while Hoult can't really be criticized for being miscast, especially as he gives it his all, you can heap disapproval on both Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins for their efforts, which are frankly so bizarre that they should hand back their Academy Awards for Best Actor at once. Let's start with Kingsley, who was clearly given free reign to play an eccentric Turkish gangster. Yet he goes so over the top and is so ludicrous that at times he is incomprehensible, while you end up dismissing his character and performance as indulgence gone wild.
Somehow, Anthony Hopkins' performance is even more bizarre. Most of the time he barely looks as though he's breaking a sweat, or more likely is barely remembering his lines. Only to then randomly and peculiarly give aggressive emphasis to certain words as a way of showing that he's trying.
It doesn't help that F. Scott Frazier and Eran Creevy's script is a mishmash of elongated soliloquies, soap-opera style plotting, and clichéd characterization, all of which is under-laced with an aura of pretension that makes the film hard to root for.
There is actually a brief period when Collide threatens to be enjoyable, as Nicholas Hoult has to do a daring escape, which is quickly followed by two car chases through a sleepy German town and on the autobahn, respectively. At this point Creevy's over-the-top direction, especially when it comes to car pile-ups, actually brings an unexpected fun to proceedings.
But this goodwill is short-lived. The henchmen become too inept, while there's always something just within reach to get Casey out of trouble, who never even comes close to being hit by a bullet even though he's under attack for a good half an hour. Plus there's always seemingly a sports car waiting for him to depart, and I've never seen a character escape so many crashes with so few injuries. A constant level of entertainment would have allowed me to overlook these failings, but Collide never comes close to do enough to justify them.
Its biggest shortcoming is saved for its painful conclusion, though. That's because Collide isn't just a giant waste of time that only brings the worst out of the impressive cast, but it unforgivably takes an eternity to end and put you out of your misery. By the time the credits finally roll I had long been dreaming of my exit. Save yourself the hassle, and don't even bother making an entrance.