WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When Gord Brewer’s family is killed by a terrorist’s bomb, he does what any bereaved American father would do: off to Columbia to kick some mad bomber butt!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
If you grew up on movies with titles like COMMANDO, RAW DEAL, PREDATOR and RED HEAT…you’ll probably get a nostalgic little kick out of Arnie’s latest, COLLATERAL DAMAGE. It follows the action-flick formula down to the smallest detail, and while that’s great for people who adore the 1980’s action flicks, the screenplay’s dutiful adherence to all things cliched and familiar eventually overpowers the whole affair. Some people may think that this film only looks trite and tiresome following the tragedies of 9/11; I’d contend that this Arnie vehicle would have looked ridiculous whenever it was released. That’s not to say that COLLATERAL DAMAGE is an awful flick. Maybe your TERMINATOR dvd has been worn out from overuse, and you’re dying to see the Austrian behemoth in a new adventure. This movie is painfully familiar and wholly contrived, yet there’s an undeniable B-movie charm that pops in intermittently.
The action scenes – while few and far between – are expertly realized (one would hope so from the director of UNDER SIEGE and THE FUGITIVE), and a few colorful character actors (like John Turturro, Elias Koteas, and John Leguizamo) add a small spark to this otherwise disposable action flick. Cliff Curtis adds another notch in his ‘evil guy’ resume, while Francesca Neri plays perhaps the world’s most stunningly gorgeous (yet ruthlessly evil) lady terrorist. Though I’ve always been a huge fan of the Ahnuld, it’s clear that this sort of macho/action/revenge fantasy schpiel is behind him now. His last three efforts have been a fizzled occult thriller (END OF DAYS), a ridiculous sci-fi turkey (THE 6TH DAY) and now the sweaty and posturing throwback. Here’s hoping each of these movies put those genres to rest for the celebrated star. While I have high hopes for his next TERMINATOR adventure, it would be nice to see Schwarzengger forgo his beloved action genre and try something a little more challenging. I don’t mean he should play Hamlet, but imagine him playing a role like De Niro’s in MEET THE PARENTS. Now THAT would be some fun!
Although it was earlier announced that Schwarzenegger would be participating, the full-length audio commentary features a lone Andrew Davis expounding on his film. But much like his track (with Tommy Lee Jones) for THE FUGITIVE, Davis proves to be a fairly interesting guy to listen to. Though it’s hardly the most electric commentary you’re likely to hear, the director capably covers all sorts of topics, issues, and anecdotes. As always, if you’re a fan of the film, you’ll enjoy the commentary. You’ll also find two featurettes: one entitled The Hero in a New Era showcases some director and star interviews, most of which deal with the issue of ‘movie terrorism’, post-911. Not a bad little piece, but not as insightful as one would hope. There’s also your typical behind-the-scenes featurette, or in other words: electronic press kit puff piece. Yawn. You’ll also find six deleted scenes, none of which would have improved the film had they stayed in, the theatrical trailer, and some cast/crew bios that nobody ever really looks at.
If you’re a diehard Arnie freak, COLLATERAL DAMAGE is worth a look. At the very least, it’s the LEAST crappy of his three most recent movies…for whatever that’s worth.