‘The Collective’ (2023) Ending, Explained & Film Summary: Is Hugo Dead?

If I had a dollar for every time I predicted the twists and turns in the new movie The Collective, I wouldn’t be even close to being a millionaire, for there are not that many twists here in the first place. Directed by Tom DeNucci, The Collective is like a stepping stone for the performers to showcase their skills, and the film unfolds like it’s well aware of that fact. The film has a decent star cast with actors like Don Johnson, Paul Ben-Victor, and Tyrese Gibson added to the mix who do a good job, but it is Lucas Till who gets to play the title role. I should add that he falters badly as he is unable to add to the stakes of this action thriller. See, that’s what Tom Cruise does well in the “Mission Impossible” franchise. He sells you the movie by acting like it really matters. But in this MI-vibe movie, it feels like Lucas Till is playing the stakes of a teen movie.

The story begins by setting up the villain, Miro Lindell, who has kidnapped an analyst named Neely. Neely is important for a secret organization known as the ‘Collective’. Sam Alexander is the newest recruit in the group, and immediately he plunges into the criminal underbelly, endangering the lives of everybody in the Collective.

Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In ‘The Collective’?

Miro Lindell has Neely, the most wanted analyst, in his cage, quite literally. Neely has information about all the members of the Collective, and because he fears Miro to no end, he has given that information quite easily to him. Miro, a well-known sociopath even among the other wealthy villains of the world, has devious plans to present Neely at an auction held for the evil billionaires. Soon Liam, head of the Collective, realizes that if Miro has to be stopped in his human trafficking endeavors, it has to be done by somebody who hasn’t yet been compromised by Neely. Sam Alexander, a cocky young fellow, proves to be too interesting a candidate for the mission as he seems to have a problem with authority and endangers the life of Hugo, a veteran in the Collective.

Why Does Sam Want To Fast-Track His Training?

Sam is tested in a series of battles, and it seems he is invincible, but Liam knows that his overconfidence will bring him down. He beats the records set by all the previous agents and hence cannot be denied a place in the Collective. Liam gives him a special brooch, and Sam becomes a member of the group. It isn’t clear to Sam that even after winning the gun battles and battling opponents in simulated crime scenes, he cannot be allowed to go out in the field. He is taught by senior members that everybody has to pay their dues before taking down criminals in the real world. The simulated crime scenes are no match for what goes on in reality. Sam’s rebuttal is that he was the fastest ever, and the desk job of managing agents’ contracts was not what he had in mind when he was leaving his previous job at the DA’s office and making up his mind to come to join the Collective. He approaches Liam, who was dealing with his own problems, about this matter, and he realizes that Sam is his last option.

Why Did Liam Send Sam To Meet Hugo?

Liam thought Neely wouldn’t have given all the intel he had on the Collective to Miro. He was seriously mistaken. Even the greatest of his agents, Hugo, was compromised. Only the newest recruit, Sam, was not registered as a member just yet, and so there was no way for Miro to know that Sam was a member of the Collective. When Sam came to complain about his desk job to Liam, Hugo was risking his life to get Neely back by attacking Miro’s place. Sam proved in his conversation with Liam that he, too, was a shrewd customer, and it wouldn’t be a wise idea to attack Miro’s apartment. Liam saw in Sam the potential to be a field agent, as he was right about leaving Miro’s apartment alone. Hugo miraculously survived, and had he been killed, it would have been in vain, as Miro had already transferred Neely to a secret place. Liam thought that Sam and Hugo could become a great team. Hugo would become his guide, and Sam could infiltrate Miro’s auction as he was the only member of the Collective who had not yet been compromised.

‘The Collective’ Ending Explained: How Does Sam Infiltrate The Auction? Is Hugo Dead?

Sam meets Hugo, and immediately there is hostility between the two. Hugo, a veteran, sees an overconfident young man in front of him who thinks that just because he won in the simulations, he can be an agent out in the real world as well. Sam, on the other hand, was just eager to go out in the field and do some damage to the bad guys, and now was a good opportunity. After getting briefed by Hugo about Miro and Neely, Sam understood the urgency of the matter. Neely had upset a lot of wealthy, evil billionaires who would buy him in the auction, no matter what they had to pay. The trouble was that nobody knew the time and place of the auction. Sam used the skills that he had learned in his previous job working for the district attorney and narrowed down on a man named George Lee, who must have been invited into the auction. Actually, a man named Barry Vanderstorm had died due to Neely leaking intel about him to other villains, and as George was Barry’s friend, he would want to buy Neely in the auction to torture him for Barry’s death.

Hugo resisted because if Miro found out that Sam had gone after one of the members who was going to be present at the auction, he would smell the Collective coming, and that could mean he would postpone the auction and transfer Neely to a hidden location. Sam persisted with his request, and Hugo obliged. The auction was drawing near, and Hugo didn’t have any other plan to get Neely, so he agreed with Sam’s. Sam tracked down George, and he became Sam’s first real kill up-close, where he could see the disfigured body and had to even click a photo for the paperwork. The location of the auction was going to be made known to the participants via text message, which was going to be sent just an hour before the event began. So, Sam waited at Hugo’s place.

Meanwhile, Miro was investigating the man who had killed his men in his apartment. It was clear from the CCTV that the man was Hugo, and he got tracked by his car’s plate. Miro appointed one of his femme fatales, Nikita, to hire mercenaries to kill Hugo and report back to Miro. She wasn’t aware that Hugo had a partner with him this time: Sam. Hugo and Sam tried to kill the mercenaries, but it looked like Nikita stabbed Hugo and he didn’t survive. Sam escaped and contacted Liam, who was furious because he wrongly assumed that Miro had attacked Hugo because Sam had killed George without Liam’s approval. He was also worried that now the auction would be postponed, and that Sam had also been compromised. He gave strict orders to Sam not to go after Miro as he may be walking into an ambush, but Sam didn’t pay any heed.

Sam was in luck, as he received the venue of the auction just on time, which meant Miro had no idea George was dead. Sam infiltrated the auction, posing as George, and rescued everybody that was locked up or put in chains for Miro’s evil auction. He found Neely there as well. During The Collective‘s ending, while the auction was going on, Miro’s killing machines, Nikita and Daisy, got the news of a man who was on a killing spree. They came in to kill Sam, and for a brief moment, Sam looked trapped, but his brooch had been activated by Hugo to act as his eyes and ears. Sam suddenly heard Hugo’s voice and was delighted he survived. Hugo was recuperating in his cottage, but he couldn’t have let Sam die. Sam took out Miro’s men, and Hugo guided him while looking at the security cameras. Sam rescued Neely and other hostages and killed Miro. He returned, and the trio of Sam, Liam, and Hugo had drinks to celebrate the success of the mission.

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Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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