No Need to Get Side-Swiped by Collide
- Susan Ellingburg Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2017 23 Feb
I imagine the pitch meeting for Collide went something like: “We’ll crash as many cars as possible in 90 minutes, hire a couple of great actors to ham it up, and maybe no one will notice the gaping holes in the plot." It kind of works but… not really. Wait to rent this one. You won’t wait long. 2 out of 5.
When his girlfriend (Felicity Jones) needs a life-saving operation, Casey (Nicholas Hoult) tries to finance it by pulling off a drug heist for his one-time boss (Ben Kingsley). When it all goes wrong, Casey speeds across Germany in a series of stolen vehicles, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. It's a race against time to save his Juliette from the clutches of an evil drug lord (Anthony Hopkins) bent on recovering his stolen fortune.
Ben Kingsley. His drugged-out, hedonistic mobster is over-the-top in the best way. He seems to be having a great time, swanning around in silk pajamas, blathering on about the glories of Burt Reynolds and John Travolta. When Kingsley's baddie gets together with his boss—an affected, Shakespeare-quoting drug kingpin played by Anthony Hopkins—they do everything but twirl mustaches a la Snidely Whiplash. It’s scenery-chewing at its finest, but alas, there's no Dudley Do-Right to balance them, just Casey. He’s okay but hardly a match for the dynamic duo of Kingsley and Hopkins. But then, who would be?
Well, it’s all just a little silly, isn’t it? The (apparently overpaid) bad guys can't hit the side of a barn no matter how impressive their weapons may be. Our “hero” wrecks a car, pops out, steals another, wrecks that one, rinse and repeat. And repeat. And repeat, somehow never suffering a major injury to either himself or his cell phone. His true love may be on dialysis, but it conveniently doesn't affect her looks or energy level. Do we believe the highly-efficient German police would "surround" a building but neglect to put anyone at the back door where the getaway cars are parked? Nein. We don't expect action movies to be realistic, but this one strains credulity to the breaking point. Even worse, it’s just not fun. You know how the Fast & Furious franchise is full of exciting car chases and wild crashes orchestrated by top-notch drivers having the time of their lives on an adrenaline high? This is not that movie. Casey’s an exceptional driver but he’s a wheezing mess who always seems to be on the verge of tears. Granted, this is appropriate given his situation, but watching him is more painful than entertaining.
Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes
Hopkins' character utters a bitter mockery of a blessing that describes evil and destruction in the place where we "live and move and have our being" ending "world without end, hallelujah, amen." It's ugly but only to be expected from a man who clearly lost touch with right and wrong decades ago.
The moral of the story seems to be that the end justifies the means. Casey’s cause was apparently just because his heart was pure… never mind that he engaged in violent theft and the illicit drug trade. Let’s not think about the countless innocent bystanders who got in his way and were injured (and possibly killed) as a result. No, he did it for love, so it’s all good. Not really the kind of message you'd want your children to embrace, is it?
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)
- MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, frenetic action, some sexuality, language, and drug material
- Language/Profanity: Less than you might expect; a few s**t, a possible f**k, one exclamation of “Jesus” that was not a prayer, and the confession that a man p*ssed on his father's grave. A man who “owns” both racehorses and prostitutes compares them in an offensive way.
- Sexuality/Nudity: One character is often surrounded by a bevy of scantily clad women identified as prostitutes but the only detail we see is the rear end of a woman wearing a thong. Casey and Juliette apparently have a passionate love life that began on their first date, but it’s only shown in flashes. There’s a bet where the loser is supposed to walk around the block in the snow, naked, but it does not end quite that way.
- Violence/Frightening/Intense: Apart from the multiple car chases and many spectacular wrecks, there’s a lot of gunfire, often while driving. Also plenty of hand-to-hand fighting, torture (mercifully brief), casual killing, and threats throughout. Most everyone is in some kind of imminent danger at all times.
Drugs/Alcohol: One character is almost always high, drunk or both. Characters are engaged in the drug trade and Juliette mentions that her parents did drugs. There’s quite a bit of drinking by a variety of people in many locations. And, just to be thorough, one character is on dialysis and takes prescription meds.
The Bottom Line
RECOMMENDED FOR: Viewers who enjoy B movies packed with destruction, fast driving and impressive collisions. Fans who are willing to put up with a lot for the chance to enjoy two illustrious actors acting like drama queens.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: People who prefer their movies to have at least a touch of reality, are violently opposed to the idea that the end justifies the means, and/or do not enjoy non-stop violence.
Collide, directed by Eran Creevy, opened in theaters February 24, 2017; available for home viewing May 30, 2017. It runs 99 minutes and stars Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Anthony Hopkins, and Ben Kingsley. Watch the trailer for Collide here.
Susan Ellingburg spends most days helping to create amazing live events and most nights at the movies, at rehearsals, or performing with vocal ensembles in the Dallas area. This leaves very little time for cleaning house. A natural-born Texan, Susan loves all things British, Sunday afternoon naps, cozy mysteries, traveling with friends, and cooking like a Food Network star (minus the camera crew).
Publication date: February 24, 2017