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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.09%
Worth A Look: 19.7%
Pretty Bad: 13.64%
Total Crap: 27.27%

4 reviews, 42 user ratings

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Collateral Damage
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Arnold Cathartically Kicks Some Terrorist Ass! What More Do You Want?"
4 stars

Collateral Damage may have finally found a way to ask the burning question “Why do we go to the movies?” and make it seem both a legitimate poser and one of a rhetorical nature. After the attacks on September 11, a small handful of films were postponed; some for sensitivity, some to maximize the box office dollar. Slated to open last October 5, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new action thriller centering on terrorism was a matter of inconvenient timing, but as Hans Gruber (filmdom’s most famous terrorist) once said, may just “happens to be necessary.” Meaning that film can serve as a catharsis, for us to laugh, to cry and every once in a while, see some genuine ass-kicking.

The eerie parallels to the events of 9-11 are hard to escape. After all, Schwarzenegger plays the hero of all heroes in the wake of the tragedies: a fireman. His Gordon Brewer comes face-to-face with an act of terrorism when he’s a few minutes late to pick up his wife and son. Minutes make all the matter when bomber Claudio 'The Wolf' Perrini (Cliff Curtis) sets off his latest device and turns Gordy into a fatherless widower.

Government officials without the benefit of a catch phrase like “Let’s Roll” are hearby deemed useless and uncooperative. Funding is cut off to CIA terrorist hunter Peter Brandt (Elias Koteas) and sympathetic agents (Harry J. Lennix & Miguel Sandoval) are relegated to nothing more than apologizing and playing with their walkie-talkies. (Sandoval’s presence is memorable only in that this time, he’s NOT playing the Colombian.) Luckily, Gordy’s fireman buddies know an ex-CIA agent to help start him on the road to justice.

When Arnold busts into an activist’s office and starts busting up the place Mickey Mantle-style screaming about showing him some collateral damage, you’re either along for the ride or not. Having just watched Commando again the other night (where Arnold unofficially caps 82 people in the climactic battle), I was in the mood to see Arnold punish the aforementioned evildoer and I wasn’t disappointed. The major dialogue scene between Arnold and The Wolf brings about a key query at the heart of revenge tactics and Arnold’s answer and subsequent action is likely to inspire audiences to loud, sustained applause.

While not exactly fleshed out to “above your average action picture”, some provocative ideas do manage to squeeze in, if a bit subliminally. The usual speeches about reducing us to their level and they win sorta stuff is simplified perfectly into a single Arnold exchange as well as the excuses our government uses in order to inflict a little collateral damage of our own. But we’re not here for lessons or political rhetoric, are we?

Forgive me for being an eye-for-an-eye kinda guy, but I was looking forward to this movie strictly to see Arnold put the smackdown on some bad guys with no other purpose than to blow us up. The ACLU will probably use this review to put me on a list, but I’ve always felt that if you send one of us to the hospital. we send one of yours to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way. And it’s certainly Arnold’s way. And it’s even hometown director Andrew Davis’ way, who has arguably given Chuck Norris (Code of Silence), Steven Seagal (Under Siege) and Harrison Ford (The Fugitive) their best movies. He doesn’t quite pull off the same trick for Arnold, but he keeps the action moving nicely and delivers a climax that nearly exceeds expectations.

Arnold is Arnold and that’s always fine with me. Cliff Curtis continues to prove himself an actor to watch. After seeing him play an Iraqi (Three Kings), a Hispanic (Training Day) and Pablo Escobar (Blow), after transforming into a Colombian here, you wouldn’t believe he actually boasts an Australian accent. Francesca Neri gets notice mainly for being the cleanest and most gorgeous woman in the jungles of South America while great character actors like John Turturro and John Leguizamo are wasted in one-note, single-scene performances as comic relief and distant relative to Alfonso Arau’s character in Romancing the Stone.

Hardcore skeptics (a group that usually includes myself) can pick apart this movie to death in all its improbabilities and asking why must we be subjected to yet another brainless action picture. Even if I file this under the heading of “guilty pleasure”, I don’t feel the least bit ashamed in admitting that my enjoyment came at the expense of seeing justice served, even if it’s a dish that’s best served cold.

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originally posted: 02/08/02 16:59:15
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell IT SUCKS 1 stars
7/13/09 Erin Not his best, but he's certainly better and more believable than that crap True Lies. 4 stars
1/11/09 action movie fan exciting,clever twists and great motorcyclr chase oneof arnold,s best 5 stars
4/12/08 Monday Morning When you've done it all in movies, you become a politician. 5 stars
1/20/08 Pamela White dramatic and Arnold even speaks 4 stars
12/16/06 David Pollastrini a bit slow 4 stars
3/02/06 Volker I feel sorry for Arni.. 2 stars
1/26/06 JM Synth Kind of flat, but never unwatchable, and the last 20 minutes are great 3 stars
8/27/05 ES Arnold still has the talent to pull himself up and away from trash like this 2 stars
6/20/05 darick Suspensful but not much else 2 stars
5/27/05 tony upsets me when i watch it.Due to poor acting and action.This could be 1 of the worst movies 2 stars
8/02/04 R.W. Welch Plot stretches at times but has a couple good twists. Average actioner. 3 stars
4/06/04 Mr X They should of renamed this movie "brain damage" 1 stars
2/16/04 Tahed your my best movie star arnold in the whole world 5 stars
2/14/04 mohammed hussain total waste of time 1 stars
1/18/04 Cliff fan Cliff is a Maori from New Zealand, that's a kiwi accent 3 stars
11/30/03 john Arnold is over! 1 stars
10/07/03 Ingo Nice sound effects. 2 stars
3/28/03 Matt Thiel We deserve better action films. A lot better. 2 stars
2/12/03 Paul Coleman Somewhat silly, yet entertaining from start to finish. Tons of action! 3 stars
11/18/02 David Arthur Forget what the critics say, this is a brilliant movie with superb acting 5 stars
9/25/02 Ben Wasden Mostly average, but the final 20 minutes are worth it. 3 stars
8/03/02 Kyle For future reference, read the fucking script, Ahnuld. 1 stars
7/11/02 .Choadushouse. Nothing entertaining about it. Not even bad enough to be funny for an Arnold flick. Horrid. 1 stars
4/25/02 Meredith Harshaw Guess it's more politically correct to depict terrorism as rooted in a Christian country! 3 stars
4/24/02 Carmen Crowe OK movie; shows Colombia more fucked up than war on drugs alone could do to it. 4 stars
4/08/02 Johannes gaaaaagh i fell in zhe vhader 1 stars
3/29/02 Evan The Critic Maybe some corny plot twists, but this is a classic Arnold. Not the best, not the worst. 4 stars
3/22/02 Anus Check out the 'Patriotic Mug' he's drinking from. SOOOO FUCKING CORNY!!! 2 stars
3/15/02 Andrew Carden Action-Filled Fun. Meaningless Movie With One Hell Of A Great Actor. 4 stars
3/11/02 Rgtp Give me something Arnold 3 stars
3/04/02 NiceGlamourShotErik I thought this was an early 80's boring peice of shit - A Chuck Norris film starring Arnie 1 stars
2/14/02 Todd Beamer Not much Action for an "Action" movie. Ahnold should go back to just blowin shit up!!! 2 stars
2/14/02 Hotaine Arnold should have quit after "True Lies". 2 stars
2/12/02 gary erik gives the movie away agian! 4 stars
2/12/02 Bruce Despite the subject matter, this is a film worth watching 5 stars
2/11/02 Banky Edwards I like it when the title of the movie is mentioned in during the movie....wait, no I don't! 1 stars
2/11/02 strider3700 explosions that rip bikes to shreds should kill the people on the bike as well. total shit 1 stars
2/09/02 The Gillinator The movie is fantastic! Arnold's best performance since True Lies. 5 stars
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  08-Feb-2002 (R)



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