A retired elite Black Ops Commando launches a one man war against a group of South American criminals who have kidnapped his daughter to blackmail him into starting a revolution and getting an exiled dictator back into power.
Mark L. Lester
Rae Dawn Chong,
Firefighter Gordon Brewer is plunged into the complex and dangerous world of international terrorism after he loses his wife and child in a bombing credited to Claudio "The Wolf" Perrini. Frustrated with the official investigation and haunted by the thought that the man responsible for murdering his family might never be brought to justice, Brewer takes matters into his own hands and tracks his quarry ultimately to Colombia. Written by
The movie was supposed to include the famous Colombian actress Sofía Vergara, who played an airplane hijacker. But after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, the scene where Vergara would hijack a plane was scratched from the movie. Moreover, scenes which might be considered unpatriotic have been excluded. See more »
During the funeral, the pipe music is out of sync with the pipers' movements. See more »
The initial irony about "Collateral Damage" is that it almost became that itself - an "innocent victim" of the small Hollywood fallout after 9/11/2001, delayed for months because its plot happened to involve violent revolutionaries and bombs at a time when thousands lost their lives due to a tragedy of terrorists and bombs. Had the film been released at its intended date, it could've held more meaning and may have even been "forgiven" for being rather dull and unmemorable, due to leading man Schwarzenegger's ever-increasingly-fading action star status.
The film, textbook Arnold Schwarzenegger, has one major flaw: Arnie's getting old. He has noticeably less hair, and his trademark accent doesn't seem as pronounced as it used to be. His "invincible/robotic action hero" style also seems lacking, and he isn't even given any cool "sarcastic action hero catch phrases"! The last problem (arguably the worst, especially seeing how "I'll be back..." is still a major part of his reputation today) is made even worse since nobody has any such lines; even the sole comic relief character, an employee at a drug camp with dreams of being a rapper, is killed off but a few minutes after introduction. A potentially shocking swerve is handled fairly well until it becomes immediately obvious during its setup. There's a relatively impressive explosion/climactic battle sequence, but other than that, there's not much to like in this film.
There is one interesting thing about the film, that being that, made before 9/11 but released after, it is not a total propaganda piece. Arnold hardly oozes patriotism, and the script is even fair enough to present the truth that, though the Columbian rebels may indeed be a villainous lot who conduct heartless acts of terror, that their reason for fighting and their actions can be traced back to similar actions against their own countrymen by the U.S. government. The film-makers even let an intelligence agent who is seen commanding the slaughter of a rebel camp get killed.
Had the film been released as coincidentally intended almost immediately after 9/11 (and really, the fact that it was "too controversial" at the time is rather ludicrous, since the explosion from the beginning and the explosion averted at the end are nowhere near on level with the events of 9/11, unless the controversy referred to was the admission of the U.S. causing the trouble in Columbia), it would've no doubt gained at least a low level of appreciation just because Arnie kills some terrorists. Now that the media has overdone patriotism everywhere else, however, even that part of its concept seems too weak and gimmicky to be taken seriously.
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