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REVIEW: ‘Collision Course’ explores police brutality, extortion, extra-judicial killings

REVIEW: ‘Collision Course’ explores police brutality, extortion, extra-judicial killings

Mide driving his red BMW car in the late hours of the day gets pulled over forcefully by armed men in a Toyota sienna car who claimed to be an ‘anti-robbery’ police squad. The men who are supposed to be protecting life and property immediately kidnap, blindfold, and take him to an unidentified location where they threatened his life by demanding that he enter his ATM password into a POS machine or meet the fate of other abductees lying lifeless in a nearby river.

For a story that explores the plights of young Nigerians and the brutality faced at the hands of the police, check out Bolanle Austen Peter’s ‘Collision Course’. It’s an open wound of a film now streaming on Netflix, fired up by great performances from Daniel Etim Effiong as Mide Jonson and Kelechi Udegbe as Corporal Magnus the lead characters.

This film is a purge of raw emotions that feels as immediate and infuriating as the latest headlines about the toxic police brutality, unlawful extortion, and extra-judicial killing that plagues the Nigerian Police Force.

For the movie director Bolanle Asten Peters, she is not new using real life situation and adopting it in her movies as she has pulled similar works directing the movie ‘93 days’, a 2016 thriller film that recounts the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Nigeria and its successful containment by health workers from a Lagos hospital.

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Collision course pulses with passion for one’s career path and the consequences that comes with it as one living in a country as Nigeria.

Effiong, who was last seen playing a supporting role in Netflix original ‘Blood Sisters’ released earlier this year put out a great performance for his role as Mide as he cuts deep in intimate scenes with Hannah played by Bamike Olawunmi popularly known as Bam Bam, former Big Brother Naija Housemate, who stars in yet another movie that follows a recent event in Nigeria after her role in the 2022 movie ‘Lockdown’ also streaming on Netflix at the time of writing this review playing both movies as a pregnant woman.

Peters makes the bold choice to pivot the movie not only on Mide but also on Corporal Magnus, and Udegbe popularly known for his lead character Officer Titus meets the role’s every challenge. Magnus is an underpaid police officer trying to make ends meet and feed his already starving family.

His choices: remain a regular corporal on a (less than minimum wage) salary and remain in the impoverished barracks or join the infamous TARZ group who illegally extort, and kill young men on the street and make a better living for himself and his family. Not a hard choice to make right ? until he is asked to do the seemingly impossible to get himself to join them. His wife Ekaete played by the award winning actress Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha grows ever tired of the impoverished life she lives with her husband and seeks to pick up what’s left of her and her children to return to her parents.

Peter’s top and medium tier actors in roles small and large raise the movie by not telling the story in broad strokes. The story told by Mide’s persona centers on a young Nigerian who has PTSD from prior brushes with TARZ and works as an independent artist in Lagos. Finding a lady who would stick by them through thick and thin appears to be every young man’s fantasy, and Hannah continued to be the inspiration for Mide’s hustling. As he experiences unhappiness and the position the system puts up for him, Magnus, a character who is typically perceived as the antagonist in real-life situations, allows the audience to see him in a different light.

Peters doesn’t hide the moral and logical compromises that invades the world of ‘collision course’ but her brilliant and lasting achievement is to demonstrate how the encounters of Mide still has the power to ring out and inspire young Nigerians caught up with the issues of police brutality and the rise of the Endsars protest of October 2020.

Collision Course has already picked up a major award winning the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award for Best Movie (West Africa) in May 2022.