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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The lamest Schwarzenegger movie ever?, 6 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Collateral Damage [DVD] [2002] (DVD)
Paper thin characters, predictable plot, cartoon violence, and bad acting. OK, so EVERY Arnie movie could be described like that. Somehow though, they used to be much more fun. Collateral Damage (the film whose release date was famously delayed to avoid comparisons with September 11) unfortunately does not represent a revival in the fortunes of the big Austrian (who's last two efforts 'End of Days' and 'The 6th Day' have been box office flops). In fact, you'd be on safe ground in describing this as the lamest Schwarzenegger movie ever.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Gordon Brewer, a chunky Los Angeles firefighter who has the perfect life with his loving wife and young son. His life is turned upside down one day when a Colombian terrorist, 'The Wolf' (played by New Zealander Cliff Curtis) sets off a bomb that kills nine people, including Brewer's family. Official efforts to catch the perpertrator get caught up on diplomatic red tape, so Brewer (who conveniently saw the Wolf's face at the crime scene) sets off into the Colombian jungle to seek his revenge (as you do). Along the way he meets a variety of characters who either help or hinder him in his quest and the whole thing ends in a 'twist' which although well intentioned, is easily spotted by anyone who hasn't fallen asleep during the first hour (which is easier said than done).
Eagle eyed readers will note that this plot sounds kind of like that of my alltime favourite Arnie movie 'Commando'. So what makes Collateral Damage so limp compared to his previous efforts? Lets look at the key elements:
Character motivation: In Commando, Arnold is on a mission to SAVE his daughter Alyssa Milano who has been kidnapped. Here his kid is already dead so he is simply on a revenge mission (which, although macho, seems a little extreme).
Arnie's invincibility: In Commando (and Predator), Arnie is an elite special forces soldier so it makes sense that he is able to take on whole armies singlehandedly. In this film, he is just an average schmo, so credibility is stretched way beyond belief when he tramps into the heart of guerilla jungle territory (without even the benefit of camouflage paint).
Terrible scripts: In Commado (and Predator, Conan, and the Terminator), Arnie has flimsy scripts, but at least he gets to make some corny and memorable one liners. Here, the script is just as dumb as ever, but without any great quotes.
Bad Guys: For Arnie's ultra-violence to even begin to be justified, you have to have a villain who is pure evil with no redeeming qualities (like Bennett in Commando). For some reason, The Wolf is given a wife, a son, and a justifiable cause - so we don't cheer quite as much when he gets his dues.
Cliches: This one has them all, from the 'bad guys who are terrible shots', to the 'bad guy who you think is dead but really isn't', and the all time classic 'hero plunges over massive waterfall to a certain death then after a dramatic pause, clambers up onto a handily placed rock to recover'.
Quite simply, Collateral Damage should not just have been delayed after September 11, it should have been permanently destroyed. If you really want to see Schwarzenegger kicking some ass, go rent 'Commando' instead.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Aug 2010 21:46:16 BDT
Guv says:
Does the film make any effort to explain why someone so obviously Germanic is named Gordon Brewer?
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

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