""Collateral Damage" (2002)The released date for this film was delayed after the tragic September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. I had heard quite a bit about the movie and was generally looking forward to it because I enjoyed The 6th Day, Arnie's last effort. I didn't expect it to be a life-changing experience to free our fear from terrorists after the horrific events of 9/11, but I expected to be entertained.This movie far succeeded my expectations. It's more intelligent, more entertaining, more interesting, more original, more well-acted than I could ever expect. Of course one thing that did disappoint me was once again Arnie went completely soft and the motivations are all good-willed and stuff, he's not a cool bad[boy] anymore! However he still makes for a decent watch, also giving in a great performance as Gordon, our main man. Schwarzenegger was able to portray the tense expressions and great action stunts as well expect from him. But he also turned in what I found to be somewhat of a more subtle performance than usually, he had some great shock and dramatic acting scenes, and I think he could be really more than an action actor with big muscles, even if that's what we'll remember him as.As for the rest of the cast, they turn in pretty decent performances. Cliff Curtis once again playing the bad guy is generally threatening. Francesca Neri (last year's underused Hannibal star) does pretty good as the mum caught in the middle. John Turturro and John Leguizamo were great comic relief and entertained me a lot. But Leguizamo's drug-making scenes were totally unnecessary to the whole plot of the movie. This is yet another one of those twist-in-the-end movies (much like last year's The 6th Day, Arnie's box office hit) and it completely surprised me. The twist does have a couple of plot holes, but overall it worked. I was very pleased with the way it explained the twist, it made me understand the movie a whole lot better. Sometimes it doesn't make such perfect sense though.The action sequences in this movie are entertaining, and very well filmed. They also have a certain cleverness to them (they're not just there because they are) and each of them delivers in a big way. They are also very well directed and the director of photography catches the atmosphere and important shots. The editing is very good (the fire especially looked very real) and the music used the perfect instruments (refreshingly different sounds!) to portray the excitement.All that said, I felt the movie was a little too long at about 2 hours, and it had some unnecessary scenes (Elias Koteas wasn't really essential, and neither was the whole John Leguizamo drug back-story). However, this movie remained an entertaining, enjoyable, smart and thought-provoking dramatic actioner.MY GRADE: B+"
It's a movie, not a guidebook on terrorism.
D. Litton | Wilmington, NC | 02/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you can look past the media attention "Collateral Damage" has garnered as a result of the September 11th attacks on the United States, you may find yourself in familiar yet overall satisfying territory. Featuring a plot that centers around a terrorist attack in Los Angeles, the film was slated for release last October, but was held back for obvious reasons relating to the inevitable backlash of negative criticism. My question is, when are people going to realize the difference between reality and entertainment? The truth is, Andrew Davis's latest action film, starring the hulky hero Schwarzenegger in a role we've come to love him for, can hardly be labeled a cause of terrorism, nor does its subject matter ever reach a point that could become offensive to even the most fragile of American citizens. In fact, the movie recalls the days when such a movie felt right at home, when seeing the villains get their due justice at the hands of the good guy was actually fun instead of a subject for comparison to reality. The story takes place in Los Angeles, where firefighter Gordon Brewer (Schwarzenegger) lives happily with his wife and son. On his way to meet them at a sidewalk restaurant one afternoon, Brewer becomes a witness to a horrific explosion intended for a group of officials connected to an ongoing battle in Colombia over the manufacturing of illegal substances. The only catch here is that, instead of wiping out the targets, the attack takes the lives of innocent civilians, including Brewer's wife and child. His grief turns to rage after an television interview terms the civilian casualties as "collateral damage," leading him to take the law into his own hands. Enlisting the help of an experienced friend, he makes his way into the hot beds of guerilla-operated territory in the jungles and rain forests of Colombia, where he intends to seek out and destroy Claudio Pellini, the terrorist known as "The Wolf" responsible for the attack. It's a classic seek-and-find story replete with the requisite action sequences, explosive sound, grandiose special effects, and implausible plot twists that are fun despite their ludicrous conception. Take Brewer's ease in getting past the guerilla officials and guards as he makes his way into Colombia by way of Panama, or an underground explosion that crowns the movie's finale. Common sense tells us that his managing to evade guerilla troops and pinpoint Pellini's location would be next to impossible, given that he is a civilian, while the big explosion, of course, stops just short of consuming our hero in a blaze of glory. Yet, in spite of the story's implausible situations and scenarios, director Davis is able to take the movie where it needs to go, keeping the intensity high and the entertainment factor steady. Schwarzenegger incorporates elements from his previous film "The 6th Day" and his action hits from the past to pull off another type-cast character, and does so in a pleasing fashion that reminds us of his welcome presence no matter how old he gets. To dismiss "Collateral Damage" on the basis of its plot and story development is silly, to say the least. Anyone who is familiar with the work of its director and main star knows what they're in for, and has no reason to haggle once the credits roll. Many will charge that the movie hits too close to home with its subject matter. This is a movie, a piece of entertainment, made long before the attacks on our nation. It's not a guidebook on terrorism; it does not advocate such practices, nor does it provide probable cause for those who commit such acts. It is, however, a reminder of society's reliance on media violence as an explanation for the cause of realistic occurrences, that those touched by such events are quick to attribute a terrorist's actions to something they saw in a movie or on television. What ever happened to the word "crazy?""
Solid action movie on a great DVD.
Fred Winkle | Vancouver, Canada | 07/31/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I walked into the theatre to see "Collateral Damage" for no other reason than to be entertained, and give the movie credit, it was very entertaining despite Arnold's hilariously implausible character. I wasn't aware that all firemen were made to through a Green Beret or SWAT program, because he looks like he's taken a few courses in each. Gordon Brewer (Schwarzengger) handles guns, axes, and knives in style like he's been doing it for years, but since this is an Arnold film I'm able to forgive his characters which frequently defy all belief.In a nutshell this movie is about Brewer's revenge scheme as he hunts down the terrorists who killed his wife and child in a bombing, and tries to stop him before he strikes again. The plot isn't great, what with a fireman somehow breaking into a guerrillas home and all, but director Andrew Davis keeps the film going at a brisk pace, and it's never boring. The DVD quality is also very fine with some good features, and if you're an action movie fan this is one to own."
Arnold is back!
shankar_k | Indianapolis, IN United States | 02/12/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When I saw 'End of Days', I thought Schwarzenegger's days were over. Then he proved me partly wrong in 'The Sixth Day' which was a better film than the previous one. And now Arnold makes a solid comeback in 'Collateral Damage', doing what he does best. This is a typical Schwarzenegger film, filled with mind-blowing action sequences. Arnold plays firefighter 'Gordy' Gordon whose wife and kid are killed in a terrorist bombing. As is always the case in his films, the government machinery takes its own sweet time to try to catch the Columbian terrorist and Arnold, in spite of warnings from everyone, decides to go after the terrorist on his own. Arnold does get the terrorist in the end, but there is a surprising twist that makes the climax very worthwhile.Schwarzenegger plays the role of a firefighter with consummate ease, starting from the daring rescue mission in the first scene, right down to the action-packed last scene. Surprisingly, he even shows good acting skills in some scenes. The action is tailor-made for Arnold, whose age does not seem to have hindered him in being at his physical best.Overall, Schwarzenegger delivers in 'Collateral Damage'!"
Arnold's most human role ever
Ivan K. Samuelson | OH USA | 08/02/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Let's face it. In the 80's and early 90's, when you went to see an Arnold movie, what did you expect? He was some super-hero that was unstoppable. He wasn't your average, every-day Joe on the street. You KNEW he was going to do something so out-of-the-ordinary, but it was still so much fun to watch. The human element of his character was generally never taken into account or necessary.I think with End Of Days, we got to see Arnold play a character that was NOT superhuman. Many people (and critics) panned this movie. I loved it. I thought it was excellent and it allowed Arnold to show more emotions than he did in previous movies. Plus, he wasn't some superhero cop. He was actually a down-and-out drunk. Then came The 6th Day. Again, Arnold was allowed to show some emotions that came from having your life ripped away from you. In this case, he was a man who ran a legit transportation business, taking people up to the mountains to snow board down from.Now comes Collateral Damage. Arnold plays a firefighter, Gordy Brewer, who loses what is most precious to him: his wife and son. He loses them to a heinous terrorist attack from "The Wolf", a Columbian terrorist.The terrorist attack happens pretty early on, but you've already been given a glimpse of how Gordy lives his life: he loves his wife and son. In a split second, that is all ripped away from him. From that point on, you see Gordy slowly change from a person who saves lives to almost becoming the same type of person as the terrorist that took his family away.The action is NOT your typical Arnold action flick with outrageous stunts. In fact, I look at this movie as being on the same lines as The Fugitive, on both the drama and the action. In fact, Andrew Davis who directed The Fugitive directs this movie.The action is there because it is an integral part of the story. It's not there to be gratuitous. The action and violence is a by-product of what terrorism can cause. In this case, Gordy is seeking revenge on the death of his family, not too much different from the revenge that "The Wolf" is seeking for the supposed oppression the USA has put on Columbia. You see Gordy begin to realize this as the story unfolds.Throughout the story, Gordy must rely on his skills as a fireman. He has no special-ops training from the military. He doesn't have ready access to weapons. He must use his skills and his decision-making ability as a fireman to determine how he will go after "The Wolf". Unlike other Arnold movies, this time around the weapons are not easily accessible to him, and his character is not superhuman. It takes every ounce of his strength, will and determination to fight back, even when the terrorists beat him down. There is a twist in the story, which I won't spoil. However, it makes you cheer even more for Gordy.The DVD shows that Warner Bros. is working on adding more features to their releases. There are two featurettes that are both enlightening and entertaining. The "Hero" featurette definitely touches on how this movie is probably good for America after the horrible events of 9/11. They also explain why they held back on its release in the theatres after 9/11.Still, I wish the DVD had even more special features. There are additional scenes, cast and crew info, and one theatrical trailer. This is much better than what WB has brought out in the past. I still like how they packed The Matrix with a ton of stuff. Of course, how much extra stuff could you pack into a movie such as Collateral Damage? This is a worthy purchase. I didn't see it in the theatres, but I definitely love this movie. Is it Arnold's BEST movie? Probably not, but for a movie where he plays a very human character that must rely on skills as a fireman rather than some special combat training, I would say this is his BEST work with a character who must display a wide range of emotions. Arnold is still the king of action in my book. It's just that he's doing a DIFFERENT type of action, which I feel is good for him. I still like Commando and Predator, though!A must have for any Arnold fan."