There is a certain movie formula where an ordinary man must do something illegal and dangerous (usually to save a loved one), but the task goes awry and he spends the next 24 hours running from bad guys (usually drug traffickers), becoming increasingly battered from all the auto wrecks and leaps from rooftops before finally beating them at their own game and limping off into the sunset (usually with a bag of money). These films are seldom great, often bad, but sometimes like “Collide”: breezily paced, no frills, mildly ludicrous but perfectly watchable, and buoyed by hammy villains.
In Germany, a reformed American ne’er-do-well named Casey (Nicholas Hoult), needing money for his girlfriend Juliette’s (Felicity Jones) kidney transplant, takes a job from a Turkish psycho he used to work for named Geran (Sir Ben Kingsley). The job: to steal a cocaine-filled truck from respected businessman/secret drug lord Hagen Kahl (Sir Anthony Hopkins), with whom Geran has a beef. Casey and his pal Matthias (Marwan Kenzari) plan and execute the heist cleverly, but not cleverly enough. Matthias ends up in hiding and Casey goes on the run.
Director Evan Creevy (“Welcome to the Punch”), who co-wrote the screenplay with F. Scott Frazier (“xXx: Return of Xander Cage”), oversees some very well-shot chase sequences, most involving high-end BMWs but a few on foot. The adrenaline-charged vehicular mayhem is effective, as is Casey’s determination to get up after every beating and keep going. Hoult conveys a working-class averageness that makes him easy to identify with.
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B- (1 hr., 39 min.; )