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Gordy Brewer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a fire fighter who witnesses the senseless death of his wife and son in a terrorist attack in downtown LA. Frustrated by the official investigation and by FBI red tape, Brewer is incensed at their deaths being swept under the carpet as "collateral damage.'' He takes matters into his own hands and flies to Columbia to seek vengeance with terrorist leader Claudio 'The Wolf' Perrini (Cliff Curtis). Little does the vigilante know that CIA Agent Peter Brandt (Elias Koteas) is using him for his own gain.

Review by Shannon J. Harvey:
There comes a time in everyone's career when you've got to stop commending them for doing the same things over and over again. Arnold Schwarzenegger has had a great career. His breakthrough role as the relentless cyborg in 1984's The Terminator is still memorably, menacingly good, and his comic turns are the kind of Hollywood fluff that families relish. So it's a pity Arnie has returned to familiar ground with a string of mindless action movies like Eraser, End of Days, and The Sixth Day.

Arnie's latest shoot-em up, Collateral Damage, likewise bombed at the cinema. No wonder. It still looks like an action film from 1985. There are guns, explosions, chases, and outlandish heroics (Arnie survives a waterfall without a scratch). Yet great character actors like John Turturro and John Leguizamo are wasted in thankless support roles.

Collateral Damage does move along at a nice pace and Arnie is as likeable as ever, but it's for die-hard action fans only who can use their 5.1 digital surround sound to milk every explosive decibel from it. What's more interesting is that Collateral Damage was set for release a month after September 11 last year, but was postponed indefinitely because it depicted a foreign terrorist attack on American soil. This might have given Arnie and co the opportunity to add commentary or extras on the DVD, or even a doco on terrorism.

After all, the film attempts to show just how deeply and ineffectually the US government has been dabbling in third-world nations. Well, they do on the region 1 American DVD, but not on our region 4. All we get is a short but sweet "behind the scenes", where director Andrew Davis and Schwarzenegger discuss terrorism and the effect of 9/11 on the film on a very surface, superficial PC level.

Yet Davis's dry and technical commentary barely mentions 9/11 complications, other than that the film was originally set in New York, that fire-fighting scenes were shot, that he is sure some scenes contain fire-fighters who perished on 9/11, and that he has sent the negatives to mayor Guilliani. Rounding out the features is a 10 minute extended trailer documentary with cast and crew interviews, and commentary-less additional scenes that were thankfully left on the cutting room floor.

Collateral Damage is the type of predictable, dependable blockbuster Hollywood banks on. It's just sad that Arnie still cracks clunky one-liners like, "Da difference is I'm only gonna kill you."

Published September 19, 2002

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CAST: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Francesca Neri, Elias Koteas, Cliff Curtis, John Leguizamo, John Turturro

DIRECTOR: Andrew Davis

RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by director Andrew Davis, Additional scenes, Behind the scenes, Documentary, Theatrical trailer, Cast and crew bios.

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video

DVD RELEASE: September 25, 2002

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