Written by Peter Griffiths, David Griffiths, Ronald Roose, Nicholas Meyer
Directed by Andrew Davis
D-

Running Time: 2:15

Rated R
for violence and some language.

Starring
Arnold Schwarzenegger
as Gordon Brewer

Elias Koteas
as CIA Agent Peter Brandt

Francesca Neri
as Selena Perrini

Cliff Curtis
as Claudio 'The Wolf' Perrini

John Leguizamo
as Felix Ramirez

John Turturro
as Sean Armstrong

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Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in the completely unnecessary Collateral Damage. Not only should this movie not have been released in October of 2001, it should have never been released now, nor should it have ever seen the light of day.

Schwarzenegger stars as L.A. fire fighter Gordon 'Gordie' Brewer. He has a loving wife and son and is the typical fire hero. One day as he's going to pick his son up from a large office building, a terrorist explodes a bomb outside the building, killing 9, including Gordie's wife and son. Gordie happens to have seen the face of the killer just before the bomb goes off and decides he's going to go out and track this man down. Forget the fact that the guy is now in Colombia and the U.S. has been tracking him for years and haven't been able to get him, Gordie can do it because he's pissed. So after a couple days of research, Gordie finds himself in Colombia fighting against the guerillas and the police, all to try and find the man known as "The Wolf". While in Colombia Gordie saves the life of another young woman and her son, and later finds that they are the wife and son of the Wolf, the same man who killed Gordie's family. But people aren't who they seem to be, and when Gordie returns to the U.S., amazingly still alive and in one piece, his good nature backfires, and he almost gets everyone killed, but as you might expect, saves the day in an ending that was at best, ludicrous.

Had there been no terrorist attack on 9/11, this movie wouldn't have gotten nearly as much press coverage as it did. It was supposed to have been released in October, but the distributor decided to hold back, feeling that the timing wasn't right and people wouldn't have appreciated a movie centered around a terrorist attack so soon after real life events. Now however, the same distributor felt that the people of this country are ready for a movie to rally around, and this is it. Well I'm sorry, but this isn't it. If I was supposed to stand up and cheer for Arnold and his ability to smoke out a terrorist, I didn't feel like it. This movie didn't make me feel good. It made me realize that violence of any kind is horrible, no matter what the reasons behind it are. A terrorist blows up a building, and a man goes out for revenge. What makes one better than the other? More people are hurt in the former? Revenge is OK as long as the person you're out to get is a bad guy? To make matters worse in the film, they add the little wrinkle of having the terrorist and his wife lose their first born daughter at the hands of the U.S. military. So all that does is make me feel bad for them. It doesn't excuse their actions, but it gives them basically the same reason for killing that Gordie has.

OK, enough of my preachiness. I just didn't like any of what happened on screen, for any of the reasons they gave. And on top of not enjoying the story, I didn't like any of the acting. The writing was overly preachy (much like myself here) and just too damn annoying. None of the characters had any dimensions to them. And for the life of me, I couldn't tell if there were any good guys in the film other than Gordie. Who were we fighting in Colombia? We were aligned with anyone, or were we just there for fun? There was some kind of governmental thing going on down there that was abruptly cancelled but for some reason kept going. There seemed to be two groups in Colombia, the police and the guerillas, but they both seemed to be against the U.S. as far as I could tell. From what little I understand about normal U.S. military actions in foreign countries, we align ourselves with one side, and more or less help them out in their struggle. But in this case, it seemed like we were just a third party in there trying to impose our will. I didn't understand that at all.

And please, someone tell me how we could send soldiers down there for years, never find this Wolf character, but have a civilian just drop himself in Panama, and walk straight into this guy? It didn't make any sense to me whatsoever. I found myself tuning out of this film about 45 minutes in, but having to sit in the theater suffering for the next hour to see how it all turned out. And that ending... come on... I don't profess to know anything about the internal workings of a building, but if you sever a gas line underneath the building, chances are when it explodes, it's not only going to set off the gas where its leaked. The fire would follow the gas up into the pipes and bring down the entire building. Wouldn't it? And why is it that no matter how large the explosion, the good guy and the really bad guys never die?

The entire movie was utterly predictable and utterly boring. There is no reason to waste any money on Arnold and Collateral Damage. If you want a feel good, spirits rising, let's love America film, try renting, I don't know... Rocky IV or something. Don't waste your time with this.


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