Netflix’s Collision is an action thriller that deals with a senior corporate employee and his socialite wife as they rush to find and save their kidnapped daughter. In the clasp of a dangerous gangster, the girl has little time before she’s shipped abroad as part of a human trafficking network.
Set in Johannesburg, Collision opens with a road accident and a girl screaming from the trunk of one of the cars as a man steps out with a gun.
Two days before the incident, we are introduced to Johan Greser (Langley Kirkwood), a former military guy who works as Head of Security for a huge corporation.
He is due for a promotion to become the new CFO but looses it to a black woman who is more experienced and gives the company a better diversity angle.
His rebellious daughter Nicki (Zoey Sneedon) meanwhile skips school and hangs out with her boyfriend Cecil (Siphesihle Vazi) and his friend Thando (Mpho Sebeng), worrying her parents.
The main antagonist of the film is a gangster named Bra Sol (Vuyo Dabula) who kidnaps Nicki and plans to ship her abroad to earn enough money to pay off a huge bribe.
Elsewhere, a local shop keeper, Mr. Dinoko stirs up his neighbourhood of local South Africans against Nigerian and Zimbabwean immigrants that leads to violent protests. However, he ends up endangering his own daughter Palesa (Samke Makhoba), who is dating a Nigerian, much to his dismay.
As Cecil, Thando, Johan and his wife look for Bra Sol and Nicki, the plot goes through various turns to lead up to the moment of the accident teased at the beginning of the film.
Collision’s cast does not have a lot of opportunities to show off their acting chops. The film’s narrative is quick paced and doesn’t let anyone settle enough to express valid emotions or act in a way for audiences to care for them.
Dabula, Vazi, Kirkwood and Sneedon have the most screen time and give fairly average performances with respect to what their respective characters and the script demanded.
Dabula however gets a special mention for being the one who carries the plot but his solo efforts but they aren’t enough to salvage the narrative.
Overall, the film is just a collection of confused actors who could have shone had the writing aided them.
Collision has the right idea with its setting that tries to showcase corruption, class divide, deep rooted racism and discrimination within the country. The world building is great and you feel the underlying tension between opposing sects which the characters belong to.
The visuals are pretty. The colour grading and camera angles really bring out the beauty of Johannesburg.
If we consider the themes it introduces as a positive, Collision falls flat when it comes to justifying them. Apart from the initial world building, the film is just about money and bad decisions. The writing is flat out confusing, the pace is inconsistent and the narrative is all over the place.
The part with Dinoko, Palesa and the immigrant revolt feels forced and does not synchronise with the main kidnapping plot at all. It looks like the makers’ tried to do justice to the film’s discrimination and class divide themes but could not stick the landing. The experience feels like watching two drastically different films within one.
Usually shorter run times make a film more exciting but Collision suffers from too much content in too little time. It tries to be sensitive and high-octane at the same time but fails to do both. The mediocre acting does it no favours as well.
After a brilliant African release in Trees of Peace, Netflix has missed the mark with Collision. You can still sit through it if your watch list isn’t loaded but if you’re looking for something brilliant to indulge in, this film isn’t it.