Eye For Film >> Movies >> Collateral Damage (2002) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Before 9/11, terrorists had become the new USSR for Hollywood screenwriters. Now it's a bit dodgy.
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Gordy Brewer, a firefighter - at least, it's LA, not New York - who loses his wife and son in a terrorist attack. The bomber is a Colombian rebel, called El Lobo (Cliff Curtis), who operates from a jungle hideout. When the FBI do nothing, Gordy takes the law into his own hands.
Once in South America, the film loses its way. There is a mysterious CIA agent (Elias Koteas), who may be sailing too close to the wind, and a Canadian (John Turturro), who works for the rebels in some capacity, and Felix (John Leguizamo), who has something to do with a cocaine factory. These are periphery characters who paper the scenery - in Turturro's case, so briefly, you have only just registered his existence when he's gone.
It is difficult to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Everyone looks suspicious and Mexican. Gordy manages to infiltrate the rebel defences and reach the village where El Lobo lives.
None of this is believable. Gordy is caught and beaten up a few times - he should have been killed. El Lobo's wife (Francesca Neri) and adopted son appear to become friends. It's very unsettling.
The final act, back in the States, is even more fantastical, with an added twist, befitting such a corkscrew plot, which doesn't make a blind bit of sense.
The script is by English brothers David and Peter Griffiths, who used to be in investment banking and academia. You feel that they have swotted up their subject by reading airport novels.
Schwarzenegger takes a hell of a hammering. His acting has improved so much, it is no longer appropriate to talk of him as an ex-world champion bodybuilder. In an action picture of this quality, all you need is Chuck Norris.
What you get is someone who has learnt his lessons well.Reviewed on: 04 Apr 2002