Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Francesca Neri, John Leguizamo, John Turturro, Elias Koteas | Directed by: Andrew Davis | Produced by: Steven Reuther, David Foster, Peter McGregor Scott | Written by: Peter Griffiths, David Griffiths, Ronald Roose, Nicholas Meyer | Distributor: Warner Brothers
The images of September 11, 2001 will forever be in our memories. It is the day that the battle against terrorism made its move to American soil.
Every news source has made sure that we will never forget the unbelievable destruction. Americans quickly changed their priorities and many re-examined their values. Even Hollywood took a long look at its release schedule and shelved some of the fall projects. The most famous delay was the Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Collateral Damage”. Most people had already seen the trailer in the theaters or on television. The movie’s opening moments contained a violent scene of many innocent people dying as the result of a terrorist bomb. The question is—is America ready to watch violent terrorism on the big screen? I know that many people have said they would have felt more comfortable if this film had remained on the shelf. You know that is not going to happen. I will say right at the beginning… if the 9/11 tragedy still affects you deeply, then you should skip this film.
“Collateral Damage” is your typical formulaic vehicle for Mr. Schwarzenegger. There are few surprises in this action flic. Our hero, Gordy Brewer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), is intended to represent your average American firefighter. He has plans to meet his wife and son downtown. As Gordy arrives, he witnesses his family become victims of a terrorist bombing. Gordy saw this mysterious Columbian bomber and he begins to nurture feelings of vigilante style revenge. He begins to focus on El Lobo (Elias Koteas), the bomber, and plans to take him out.
Only problem for most people is that Mr. Brewer must travel to Columbia and infiltrate a guerrilla stronghold. But that’s no problem for our hero because the bullets only kill innocent bystanders and never Arnold. Gordy’s success includes help from El Lobo’s wife (Francesca Neri) and her son. She helps him to escape and they race back to American in order to foil the plot of another bombing.
Director, Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive”), does a decent job in the suspense department. The violence is primarily a lot of explosions. There are a few scenes that were somewhat gruesome. I personally found most of the violence less intense than “Roller Ball.” The profanity was your typical R-rated formula fare. There were 4 uses of the f-word, instead of the PG-13 standard of 3. There are a few plot twists along the way, but no real surprises. This isn’t the worst flic for the action hungry male in your house… there’s no sex or innuendo to speak of. Typical “Ahnold” fare. My 15-year-old son and I enjoyed most of the adventure, but don’t ignore the R-rating completely.