Directed by John Herzfeld.
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Thomas Jane, Danny Aiello, Lauren Cohan, Kyra Sedgwick, Danny Trejo, Tom Sizemore, Nelly, Kevin Connolly, David O’Hara, Kelsey Grammer, Tom Berenger, Terry Crews, Cary Elwes, Frank Stallone, Elizabeth Henstridge.
A motivational book written by a mystery author inspires a cross-section of different people to re-evaluate their lives.
When a film boasts as much screen talent as Collection does then it’s pretty hard to see how it could fail. The trouble is that having names such as Stallone, Trejo, Berenger, Aiello et al in your film doesn’t mean a thing unless you’ve got the material for them to go to work with, and Collection is a film that is in desperate need for something – anything – to justify having so many big name actors on board.
A lightweight plot about a motivational book called ‘Reach Me’ (the original, and better, title of the film) that has become hugely popular but nobody knows who author Teddy Raymond is. The film then focuses on several different groups of people as they take a look at their lives and the decisions they make, and as their lives play out they all come into contact with the book and manage to come to some sort of realisation that their lives need re-evaluating.
So we have a media mogul (Sylvester Stallone) who wants more out of his apprentice (Kevin Connolly) and sends him out to expose Teddy Raymond for being cowardly, a pretty young actress looking for her big break who gets sexually assaulted by her co-star (Cary Elwes) whilst on camera, a trigger-happy undercover cop (Thomas Jane) who feels the need to go to confession after every kill, much to the misery of his priest (Danny Aiello), and so on. It must be said that the standard of acting in this film is quite high – as you would expect with such a high profile cast – and you can’t really fault anybody on their performance.
The main problem with Collection is that it feels like a bunch of random scenes tacked together with no coherence, and even though the book is supposed to link everything together, by the time you get to the end and all of the movie’s main characters are on-screen together you a) have no idea what is going on and b) don’t really care. The script is littered with several philosophical speeches, mostly delivered by Sylvester Stallone (because he did them in Rocky, see?) as the ruthless media mogul Gerald, but they only serve to motivate your finger towards the skip button as every tiresome and redundant cliché about reaching inside yourself is spewed out again and. To be fair, Stallone seems to have grasped what is required and delivers his lines with a bit of self-awareness but you get the impression that he either owed writer/director John Herzfeld a favour or that Herzfeld has some compromising photographs he’s threatening to reveal. Either way, and despite Stallone’s best attempts, just the physical spectacle of Sly as a bespectacled journalist called Gerald doesn’t work.
Of the other cast members, Danny Trejo is fun for the two minutes he is in the film, Thomas Jane channels his inner Clint Eastwood and shows he can handle a revolver, and Tom Berenger comes across fairly well with what he has to do, but otherwise it feels like such a waste having so much talent on-screen but putting them in such a tedious film.
Collection is a movie that desperately wants to be seen in the same light as Paul Haggis’ 2004 film Crash but whereas that movie had a socially conscious message, albeit a heavy-handed one, this is an inconsistent string of underwritten ideas that John Herzfeld can’t seem to wrangle anything worthwhile out of. And after you’ve sat through nearly 90 minutes of this uninspiring mess you realise that you never actually found out what is in the book, meaning that the only achievement Collection can boast is having so many decent actors in one ensemble cast, which might have been fun on the set but for a viewing audience is nothing short of confusing, pretentious and dull.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★/ Movie: ★