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Case Number 26913: Small Claims Court

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Collision (Blu-ray)

Lionsgate // 2013 // 101 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // January 30th, 2014

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All Rise...

Judge Gordon Sullivan may doubt the existence of Luc Besson, but he still firmly believes in Santa Claus.

The Charge

Their lives will never be the same.

The Case

It was a sad revelation when, as a young man, I learned that some of my favorite authors didn't exist. Though I loved to read series like The Hardy Boys, I eventually discovered that Franklin W. Dixon was in fact a series of writers hired by a publishing syndicate. Looking back it makes total sense. It would be a titanic struggle for any one author to keep up the grueling Hardy Boys schedule for the decades new stories were produced. If I hadn't seen pictures of him myself, I'd be a bit suspicious about the name Luc Besson. The name is attached to so many films—whether as writer, director, or producer—that it's hard to believe that there are enough hours in the day for him to accomplish all the cinematic feats that bear the name. Still, he's real, and Collision proves that his sensibility is alive and well. It's not a great film, but it'll satisfy that international-thriller itch just fine.

Taylor (Jaime Alexander, Thor) is married to Scott (Frank Grillo, Homeland), and the couple decide to go to Morocco on vacation. Scott doesn't realize, though, that Taylor has a lover (Charlie Bewley, Nashville), and Taylor convinces him that Scott would be better off dead. That would be bad enough, but Taylor and Scott get into at terrible car accident in the desert, and end up with a group of survivors that includes an undercover cop, a smuggler, and a kidnapper. Needless to say, bumping off Scott becomes more and more complicated.

Though Luc Besson's name might be the most famous associated with Collision, it's really the brainchild of writer/director David Marconi. He's known for his films Enemy of the State and Live Free or Die Hard. His filmography leads audiences to expect a pretty complicated, action-oriented film full of twists, betrayals, and loads of double-dealing. In that way, Collision is a pretty typical Marconi picture.

Of course his style is a double-edged sword. If you're willing to go along with his plots, Marconi's films offer plenty of thrills. However, I'm sure there are those who had trouble following the internet-fueled plot of Live Free or Die Hard, with its many climaxes and scenes of exposition. The same fate befalls Collision, which is really several films in one. It's partly a romantic thriller, with the wife and lover trying to bump off the husband. It's partly a survivor-thriller, as a group of disparate people with something to hide are forced together by this desert collision. It's also a bit of an international/exotic thriller, as the Moroccan setting gets used to good effect for the film's climax. For some viewers that's going to be a bit too many changes of pace.

However, all of the individual moments are well-crafted. Marconi knows how to craft an action sequence, and no doubt the influence of Besson doesn't hurt things. There are plenty of thrilling moments sprinkled throughout the film. More importantly, the actors are all uniformly good. It seems like the idea was to cast people who are coming up, so Grillo and Bewley are taking a brief sabbatical from significant television roles, while Jaime Alexander is between Thor films. Perhaps the most established star is Roschdy Zem, though he's most famous in Europe. Together the ensemble really sells the sometimes overly twisty plot. It takes a lot to go from the small-scale tensions of a husband and wife to the large-scale tensions of a group with secrets fighting for their lives, but everyone here performs admirably.

Whatever one feels about the film, Collision (Blu-ray) is solid. The film's 2.40:1/1080p AVC-encoded transfer is excellent. Everything from close-ups on the actors to the wide desert vistas showcases a good amount of detail. Colors seem accurate, though a bit blasted by the Moroccan sun. Black levels are consistent and deep throughout. The DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack is similarly impressive. We get clean and clear dialogue, but the real highlight of the track is the numerous action sequence. They showcase excellent clarity and dynamic range, along with pleasing directionality.

Extras start with a series of interviews with the major players, including Marconi, Grillo, Alexander, Zem, Marie-Josee Croze, and Moussa Maaskri. They're informative, though a bit fluffy. Luc Besson's inclusion would have been nice, but what's here is good. We also get a trailer gallery and an Ultraviolet Digital Copy of the film.

Collision is a fine enough film, the kind of thing that will get watched when nothing else looks good on Netflix some weekday night. It's not a life-changing experience, but those looking for a bit of international action will be satisfied. The fact that Collision (Blu-ray) is solid makes it easy to recommend the film for rental, especially for fans of the actors.

The Verdict

Not high-impact, but also not guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 80

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
Audio Formats:
• DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
• English
• English (SDH)
• Spanish
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Action
• Blu-ray
• Romance
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Interviews
• UltraViolet Download


• IMDb

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