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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
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by EricDSnider

"You know the drill: One man against the world; lots of stuff gets blown up."
3 stars

Except for one little twist near the end, "Collateral Damage" offers no surprises. It is the quintessential Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick, right down to the last cliché. It reads like a "Simpsons" parody of an action movie, rather than an actual action movie.

Arnold plays Gordy Brewer, an L.A. firefighter whose wife and son are killed in a terrorist act. Due to diplomacy and red tape, the government is slow in retaliating against the perpetrator, a Colombian guerrilla who goes by the name "El Lobo" ("The Wolf") and whose real identity is known only to ... well, everyone in the FBI, apparently, though he's still able to get past airport security pretty easily.

Anyway, despite a warning from kindly FBI Agent Phipps (Miguel Sandoval) that he mustn't take the law into his own hands, Gordy takes the law into his own hands. He heads for Colombia to find El Lobo (Cliff Curtis) himself, doing so while voice-over narration from his firefighter buddies explains how it's impossible to do. But he's not gonna take no for an answer! He doesn't play by the rules! He's a loose cannon! He's a one-man wrecking crew! He's got nothing left to lose! Whatever!

El Lobo is an evil Bond-style villain, at one point killing an incompetent henchman with a snake -- not by having the snake bite him, but by forcing the man's jaws open with forceps and letting the snake crawl down his throat. Somehow, this kills him in under 10 seconds. It's still early, but I believe this will be the stupidest movie death of 2002.

Gordy, for his part, is resourceful and MacGyver-esque, while also being embittered and vengeful. He has no interest in bringing El Lobo to justice; he simply wants to kill him.

As a viewer, it's hard to get behind this course of action. Gordy's feelings are natural, given the circumstances -- but we humans tend to find a way NOT to act on our murderous impulses. At some point during the allegedly arduous journey into the jungles into Colombia, you'd think calm and reason would take over. That it doesn't is further indication that Schwarzenegger doesn't play characters; he plays types, specially designed to help audiences vicariously live out their violent fantasies.

John Turturro and John Leguizamo show up as people in Colombia who help Gordy, and Elias Koteas is a CIA agent with dubious motives. There1s also Francesca Neri and Tyler Garcia Posey as -- get this -- El Lobo's wife and son, who coincidentally are about the same ages as Gordy's dead family. Mrs. El Lobo explains her husband's backstory, which tidily boils a terrorist's motives down to a simple story of revenge. Those guys on CNN may try to tell you that there are complex factors at work in making a terrorist, but in the movies, it all comes down to a personal grievance, politics and religion be hanged.

It is directed by Andrew Davis, whose last memorable film was "The Fugitive," which also had a scene in which a man goes over a waterfall and lives to tell about it. "Collateral Damage" is nothing more than a retread of other action movies depicting one man against the world. Whether this one makes any money will be the answer to the question of whether Schwarzenegger can just keep cranking these things out without thinking first, or whether we're going to start demanding some originality.

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originally posted: 02/09/02 05:31:14
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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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