A Film a Week is a weekly column on this blog, run on Sunday for our English-language readers and friends, presenting usually local or European festival films to a wider audience. Every review is directly written and not translated.
An American small-time crook (Nicholas Hoult) in Cologne falls in love with a fellow ex-pat (Felicity Jones) and decides to go straight. But when she gets ill and in desperate need for an expensive surgery, he must go back to his old habits for one last job. He and his buddy (Marwan Kenzari) must hijack a truck full of cocaine, which gets them in the middle of the clash between two ruthless gangsters played by Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley. And most of the action happens on Autobahn, which was the working title of UK-German action thriller latter named Collide.
Autobahn is famous for two reasons: it is completely free of charge from the times the network of highways was built in the 30’s and there is no speed limit whatsoever. That second reason makes it a valuable asset and a perfect setting for driving action, high-speed chases, crashes and all the rest, but outside German cinema and especially television (like popular cop show Alarm for Cobra 11), Autobahn didn’t make the presence it deserves. Collide could be its chance to shine and maybe to invite some big guns from Hollywood or Europacorp.
The trouble is that Collide is bad to the bone. Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones are both actors in demand nowadays, but their love story is trapped in romantic conventions and feels fake from the start until the end. And both the legendary British actors (and Her Majesty’s Knights) are overacting, trying to top each other. Their characters are not layered and their behaviour is not even remotely human-like, so they seem more like collections of quirks and crazy thoughts they are motor-mouthing than like actual persons. Their recent career choices are questionable to say at least, but this one is another level for both of them.
The script which the director Eran Creevy has written together with F.Scott Frazier seems completely random, feeding the actors with mind-boggling lines, Shakespeare quotes for dummies for Mr. Hopkins and drugged-up monologues for Mr. Kingsley in which he calles Mr. Hoult “Burt Reynolds” for no good reason, and serving the sole purpose to connect the action set pieces in which Nicholas Hoult (this time without Tom Hardy as his bloodbag) drives a wide range of vehicles: a truck, a regular car, and some attractive luxury and sports machines. The action looks decent, not exactly spectacular, it is well shot and competently directed. Loud, pumping electronic score is a bit pedestrian and dream sequences are uncalled for, but we should keep in mind what kind of a movie we are watching.
Collide is a shiny example of a trash movie. It is bad, it is random, even ridiculously stupid, but it is such fun. “So bad it is actually good” cliché can be applied here to the maximum.