A script that does more than can be expected with this story
Anthony Hopkins is a surprisingly menacing villain given the context of the movie
Ben Kingsley is a national treasure
Fun script and great performances aside, it’s still a dumb movie
Having seen Felicity Jones in Rogue One, I’d much rather see her kick ass than be the damsel in distress
There are many ways Collide could have gone wrong. For one, it could have retained its original cast with Zac Efron and Amber Heard. For another, it could have literally been like a dozen other movies had it cast Jason Statham in the lead with his love interest stuck in the boot of the car. Or it could have tried taking itself seriously, playing like the Ben-Hur of car chase movies.
Thankfully, the audience aren’t subjected to any of that. Well, they were, almost, to the Zac Efron part, but it didn’t pan out. More on that later.
While the movie certainly starts of rocky—like groan inducingly rocky—the film quickly finds its footing after getting the rudimentary introductions quickly out of the way. Now, a problem with a lot of movies is that they feel obliged to a certain structure. Most rules of writing, like “show, don’t tell,” exist for good reasons. Collide is one of the very few examples of bending this rule effectively by telling the audience characters’ backstories so as to change the status quo with ease.
Within a scant few minutes, the movie establishes its characters, status quo and motives—ensuring that the fun stuff is quick to come.
As mentioned earlier, Zac Efron and Amber Heard were originally set as the lead cast for the movie, however it is the chemistry between Nicholas Hoult and Felicity Jones that actually makes the movie kinda work. Given Heard’s general demeanour and Efron’s overall only-vulnerable-when-I’m-singing image, I doubt anyone would have really felt for the characters the way they could with Hoult and Jones.
However, as good as Hoult and Jones were, the real stars of the show were Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley.
Now, a lot about this movie screeches “low budget!” Or, at the very least “we spent all our money on expensive cars, and destruction porn.” Hopkins and Kingsley, however, are game changers.
It’s been a long time since Anthony Hopkins has gotten the opportunity to be this sinister. Given his recent bout of roles being more sophisticated and benign, people forget that there’s a reason why Hannibal Lecter still scares the crap out of audience. And Collide is all the reminder anyone would need.
Ben Kingsley, on the other hand, maybe the greatest funny guy villain since, well, Ben Kingsley… as Trevor Slattery in Iron Man 3. It’s sometimes really hard to believe that this man was once Gandhi.
While I would maintain that this is a movie that doesn’t need to be watched in theatres, fact is this just might be the best of its genre. So if you are a fan of movies about guys who do ridiculously stupid things for the girls that they love, then maybe go watch Titanic or some Nicholas Sparks crap. But if you enjoy movies with awesome action, great humour, and guys who do ridiculously stupid things for the girls that they love—then Collide just might be for you!