Four of cinema’s best faces share the screen in the international action picture “Collide.” Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones star as Americans enjoying a torrid love affair in Germany, while Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley play rival European crime bosses. That’s a lot of acting talent — all wasting their time.
Hoult is Casey, who gives up the criminal life at the behest of his girlfriend, Juliette (Jones). When she gets sick and needs an expensive operation, he returns to his old gang lord, Geran (Kingsley), and agrees to hijack a shipment of drugs belonging to shady industrialist Hagen Kahl (Hopkins).
Director Eran Creevy and his co-writer F. Scott Frazier essentially structure “Collide” as one long chase, with Casey zipping down the autobahn to escape Hagen's goons. The action sequences are strong, with spectacular crashes and explosions, dynamic camera moves and tight cuts that at times give the film an appealing breathlessness. But the cast takes a too-lax approach to this material.
A flatly earnest Hoult and Jones are hamstrung by drippy dialogue, while Kingsley and Hopkins overplay their more colorful parts — with the former doing a cartoonish Turkish accent and the latter delivering lines with strange emphasis. It’s as though they all assumed the movie would stink, and reduced their effort accordingly. The dopey plot doesn’t help matters. Still, this could have been a respectable little car-crash picture, with star power. Instead, it’s distractingly clumsy, and sputters whenever the hero isn’t behind the wheel.
Shot in 2014, “Collide” was originally to be released by Relativity Media before it filed for bankruptcy. Open Road Films acquired the film, but delayed the release several times.
Rating: PG-13, for violence, frenetic action, some sexuality, language, and drug material
Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Playing: In general release