Collateral Damage

Review Date:
Director: Andrew Davis
Writer: David & Peter Griffiths
Producers: David Foster
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Cliff Curtis
Elias Koteas
A fireman’s wife and child get killed in a terrorist’s bomb attack and he’s out for revenge. When the government dicks around for too long, he takes matters into his own hands and heads down to the terrorist’s homeland of Colombia himself. A desperate man willing to do anything to exact revenge on the bad guys…ladies and gentlemen…Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger!
Do you dig on typical Arnold Schwarzenegger movies? That’s the question you need to ask yourself before you decide on whether or not to see (and enjoy) this movie. Are you able to forego some plot-holes, forgive the predictable outcome and remain engaged in a film which places a “regular” man (or in this case…Ahnuld!), in extraordinary circumstances and root for the Austrian bastard anyway? If so, then welcome to a fun movie…enter at your own leisure, enjoy the sights, the sounds, the guns, the battles and Arnie kickin’ some major league terrorist ass! If you don’t enjoy Arnie or his basic modus operandi, I suggest you stay far away from this flick, or at least don’t whine about it being the “same ol’, same ol” afterwards. This movie “is what it is” and for what that is…it’s a good ol’ time! In fact, the dissection of the terrorist mindset and its network capabilities isn’t what this movie is about. It’s not trying to solve anyone’s present-day problems or resolve the greater political issues related to its topic (although it does surprisingly give you more than enough insight into the terrorists’ reasonings, which I certainly don’t agree with, but was thankful to be shown), but it is definitely trying to entertain us as an audience, and as such, does a solid job. It’s also got a quick pace, a surprisingly solid final 20 minutes, moments of action, thrills and adventure and an unexpected amount of humor (especially from the obvious comic relief in the film-John Leguizamo). Arnold also slaps a few typical one-liners our way, and from my audience’s reaction (and my own), the man still hasn’t lost his touch (“Now!”).

Some of the secondary characters were also pretty good, including Elias Koteas, whose character was rightfully ambiguous, and the always solid, John Turturro as the Canadian “fly on the wall” (his whole theory about being Canadian cracked me and our Canadian audience up). Cliff Curtis was also good as the lead terrorist, but dude…ask your agent to book you some new gigs, m’man! What didn’t work in the film? Well, some of the CGI was horrible (specifically near the waterfalls and the final fire blast), the story, despite being absorbing, was pretty “basic” and predictable for the most part, and it’s definitely one of those movies that will have you catching up to more of its plot holes as you walk out of the theater and wonder (how did the Wolf keep getting into the country so easily, and how come a fireman knows so much about so much?). But in the end, it’s really going to be up to you on whether you decide to enjoy this movie or not. I could easily see how some folks will swat the film aside as just another typical “popcorn” action movie (and yes, I’m talking about most journalistic “film” critics-a few of whom I noticed walking out of the theater before the film’s end credits started rolling…a little respect, fellas!), but I enjoyed the movie for what it was, and didn’t expect something that it wasn’t, and therefore, was quite content. This is not a memorable film by any means, and it’s definitely time for Arnold to start taking more chances in his choice of movies, but as it was, I clapped like a schoolgirl during some action scenes, I cracked up like a moron during some of Arnold’s better one-liners and I was happier than a fly on shit when Schwarzenegger bit and spit out a terrorist’s ear, and I guess that’s saying something (about me…?). Anyway, see it if you’re looking for a good ol’ time at the theatres and skip it if you’re not.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian