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29 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

I'll show you collateral damage!

Author: lastliberal from United States
22 June 2007

OK, here is the premise. A fireman's (Arnold Schwarzenegger) wife and son get blown up when a terrorist (Cliff Curtis) is trying to destroy some target. He googles "terrorist" on his home computer, finds out who is responsible, and goes off into the jungle to capture him. He escapes. In the meantime, he hooks up with the terrorist's wife (Francesca Neri), wins her to his side, and they go off back to the States to catch him. If that is not the most unbelievable plot you can imagine, then there are some twists and turns that are even more incredible.

But, who cares? This is the Governator kicking some major butt like he did in True Lies, Commando, and many other movies that you and I watch over and over.

Italian actress Neri (Live Flesh) is hot, Curtis (Whale Rider) makes a perfect terrorist, and one of my favorites, John Leguizamo (Land of the Dead), plays a great part. Even Monk's agoraphobic brother, John Turturro, is here. Wow! But, it's all about the damage, collateral and otherwise, that draws you to the movie. The fireman turned terminator turns up the heat (red, of course) and proceeds to erase the terrorist.

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50 out of 77 people found the following review useful:

one of Arnold's weakest vehicles

Author: Roland E. Zwick ( from United States
28 July 2002

I remember a time, in the not too distant past, when any new movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was treated as an event. Nowadays, his films slip in and out of town with nary a person even noticing. What's happened? The sad but obvious explanation is that, as he's aged, Arnold has had to make way for younger, more dynamic action stars, leaving him stuck with leftover crumbs like `Collateral Damage,' a dull, lackluster action film that manages to kick itself into high gear only in its final half hour or so.

`Collateral Damage' was, of course, one of those films whose original release date had to be postponed in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. In this case, the sensitivity arose as a result of the film's storyline, which revolves around a group of Colombian terrorists determined to strike at targets on American soil. Schwarzenegger plays fireman Gordy Brewer, whose wife and child are killed in an explosion at the Colombian consulate in Los Angeles. Brewer, feeling that the U.S. government has little concern with exacting revenge from the terrorist leader responsible for the explosion, decides to mount a one-man crusade to see that justice is ultimately done. The film, obviously indifferent to its own need for plausibility, sends this virtually unarmed fireman into the unfamiliar jungles of South America to take on what appears to be the entire Colombian police force as well as the guerilla fighters whose actions resulted in the deaths of Brewer's family. Brewer, of course, despite his own inexperience and the formidable odds against him, manages to talk and/or fight his way out of every dire predicament before rescuing his nemesis' wife and their adopted son.

There isn't much to say about `Collateral Damage' except to report that the film does achieve a certain tension in the closing stretches, when Brewer returns to Washington D.C. to help foil a plot to detonate a bomb in that city. Thanks to a few nice plot twists, the film ends up not being a total loss when all is finally said and done.

It's never much fun to have to witness an actor in the sunset of his career. But if Schwarzenegger's films don't start improving soon, he may well have to switch to that career in politics he has reportedly been looking into between films.

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40 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

Entertaining, As Always, Especially With Francesca Neri

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
7 July 2006

Yes, another typical Arnold Schwarnegger film which translates to (a) interesting all the way; (b) very violent; (c) very far-fetched. Here, Arnold is just a plain old fireman but he turns into superhero, doing things only Superman or Batman could accomplish....but it's still fun to watch.

After seeing his wife and kid blown up by Columbian terrorists, Arnold goes after the latter, traveling to the jungles of that South American country and taking them on! In the end, he's in Washington trying to diffuse another terrorist plot. He's amazing. What CAN'T this guy do? Yes, it's ludicrous....but it's not meant to be taken seriously, folks! It's just entertainment for fans of action movies, nothing more.

There is a nice twist at the end of this story and it involves a very intriguing-looking woman, Francesco Neri. I just love that woman's face: very sexy, especially for someone her age. She's also in "Hannibal" but I think the rest of her films are Italian. I would like to see more of her work.

There are also some short appearances by two always-entertaining actors, John Turturro and John Leguizimo. Scharwarznegger's action films usually have a fair amount of tongue-in-cheek humor and those two actors help along those lines in this film.

Elias Koteas plays the too-gung-ho FBI guy. Hollywood just will not portray an FBI, CIA, DEA, or any government agent in a positive manner. That would offend their liberal peers in the movie business, so Koteas plays the lawman you can't trust in this movie. In fact, they make it so you don't know if you can trust anyone in the government, which also is typical Hollywood fare.

Don't believe the national critics, however, if they panned this film. It's two hours of good escapist fare.

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31 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Not nearly as bad as the previews lead you to believe

Author: alverrette from Syracuse, NY
11 February 2002

"You can't take the law into your own hands!"

So says some guy from some government agency to Arnold. In the preview, this seems like typically horrible dialog for an action movie. However, I was surprised that, in the context that it was used, it wasn't too cheesy.

I saw a 'behind the scenes' thing on HBO and everyone involved was saying that this was something really different for Arnie. Why is it that people say that about every movie he's in? They're all the same! But that's okay. We're used to it. In 'End of Days' he played an alcoholic. We knew this, not because we ever saw him drunk, but because some one brought it up every ten minutes. These are things that we've come to accept about Arnold's movies. So stop telling us that this is something new.

At least, that's what I've felt for a while now. This movie is a little different. It's not a stretch, or anything radically different. But it isn't the exact same thing that Arnold's done before. It is, however, the same thing we've seen from other people before. It seems that he looks at what is popular, and he does his version of that. People like government agents, I'll do 'Eraser.' People like supernatural stuff, I'll do 'End of Days.' What's all this I hear about a movie with a twist at the end being brilliant? I suppose I'll do 'Collateral Damage.'

So is it good? Is it bad? It just is. One thing I am glad about is that is was rated R. I am sick of movies being cut down to PG-13 simply because some people feel that things should be accessible to the "family." Cutting stuff to do that ALWAYS detracts from the quality of a movie. I've actually heard directors say that they needed to take the energy level down on a scene in order to qualify. Why would you want to do that?

Yes, this movie's release was postponed. We all have our own opinions on that and nothing, not even seeing the movie, is going to change our minds.

One final note: Am I the only one who, when watching Cliff Curtis, can only think, "You know what I think? I think you're stealing gold." ?

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Quite a Surprise...

Author: Jordan-M ( from Sunny, Southern California
11 September 2002

Ok, so we've all seen at least ONE Arnold movie - and you know what they say... "If you've seen one, you've seen 'em all."

This isn't necessarily true in the case of "Collateral Damage". We expect Arnold to run into a terrorist compound in the jungle, guns blazing, unlimited explosives, managing to not get hit by gunfire even while standing still in the middle of a field, one-liners running like water...

But THAT movie was "Commando". Remember?

Anyway, in "Collateral Damage" Arnold is actually a vulnerable character. He gets BEAT UP more than he beats up others. Now, while Arnold fans (myself included) prefer Arnold to be invincible, in this case it works really well. Not just because it moves the story along, but also because it makes the protagonist more believable. Ok, sure, Arnold saying "gracias" to some Columbian bus driver is HARDLY believable, but I think you know what I mean.

You will also find yourself saying "who is the REAL villain here?" on more than one occasion. Sure, terrorists kill. That's what they do. But why do you THINK they became terrorists to begin with? "Collateral Damage" touches on the subject briefly - enough to humanize the terrorist leader, even!

Most of the reviews I've read here have been negative... But those same reviewers were probably Arnold-philes who were expecting something along the lines of "Commando 2". As it is, personally I really enjoyed "Collateral Damage." If not a smart purchase, then it's definitely a wise rental. Check it out and see for yourself.

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17 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Fairly risible

Author: davideo-2 from United Kingdom
6 April 2002

STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs

It's easy to see why this was postponed because of September 11 (even the terrorist group in the film ALC only needs IADA put on the end of it).What's hard to understand is how Collateral Damage got released at all.It's hard to believe this film is directed by Andrew Davis,the director of such action greats as The Fugitive,Under Siege and Nico.Ageing action man Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Gordy Brewer ,the most ridiculously named action character ever,who goes to Columbia to seek revenge on El Lobo,the terrorist mastermind who killed his wife and child with a bomb blast on the Anti-Terrorism Agency in New York.The story is poor (how can a fireman have so much knowledge on how to locate and take out master terrorists?)as is the character development,and in fact,so is the action.Truly run-of-the-mill stuff and nothing that hasn't been done to better and much more impacting effect in previous films of this type.For this,54 year old Arnie still has impressive biceps,and things do heat up a bit at the end.But overall,on the basis of this and his previous films,one thinks the Arn ought to think about retiring from film and trying harder to become mayor of California.**

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Surprising, in more ways than one

Author: PlanecrazyIkarus from Wales, UK
8 November 2002

I chose to rent this movie for a simple reason: I was in the mood for something nice and stupid - a no-brainer action flick starring Arnie would perfectly fit that mood. What I got was something else.

The story: Firefighter loses family in terrorist attack, goes on revenge mission to Columbia to find and kill terrorist. Sounds pretty dumb to me - and, let's face it, a lot of aspects of the movie are incredibly dumb. (Mostly those parts of the movie concerned with Arnie getting to Columbia, travelling through Columbia and getting into the rebel camp)

But, and here's the catch, some are not. What starts out a simple movie with linear plot evolves slowly. After the rage comes a period of reflection. There are twists and turns in the plot, and the first half is full of time-filling minutes spent getting to know yet-another-comedic sidekick, who will disappear entirely from the movie within minutes (couldn't they have stuck with one sidekick? Or not bothered at all?), but then, as the plot turns around, the audience is suddenly faced with an interesting moment (which is later ruined by cheesy dialogue). Well, this being an action movie, the smart bits can last only so long, and then it all goes to pieces in a desperate attempt to have a traditional climactic good vs bad battle. So the end is a big let-down.

Still, the movie IS entertaining (apart from a few minutes of boredom and confusion in the Columbia part) and, surprisingly, well-acted. Arnie is no character actor, and the mess he made of End of Days was embarrassing. Sixth Day brought some more flexing of acting muscles, and I actually liked his performance in that movie. Collateral Damage takes all he learnt and puts it to the test. He will never manage a Bruce-Willis alike 6th Sense / Unbreakable career turnaround, but he acted his role well, and was convincing. Mostly, at least. The support cast, filled with aforementioned comedic sidekicks, a CIA agent, a FBI agent and the terrorist and a Columbian woman - all do their jobs well. I kept wondering where I'd seen Cliff Curtis before, until I looked it up on IMDB - he was the charismatic leader of the Iraqi resistance in Three Kings. Here, he manages to dominate the screen just as well and once again is a show-stealer. Definitely the most memorable character of the movie.

So, we have good acting, good entertainment, stupid action, a stupid end and some reasonably intelligent bit somewhere along the way. The body count is high, but surprisingly, Arnold does not actually kill many people (you can count his victims on the fingers of one hand). There is a gruesome scene involving a snake, which is basically pointless, but that did not reduce my enjoyment of the movie. All in all, a good movie to watch. Not brilliant, but not as bad as some people may think either.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

about as good as last action hero

Author: maybe from canada
8 February 2002

Arnie's back and with plot holes galore, a very HOLLYWOOD version of "the grieving fireman" , filled with tones of acting, fx and script problems, this movie just mindless action.Laughing at the absurdity of this is this only saving grace

1 star.

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Not a dull moment!

Author: Tord S Eriksson from Gothenburg, Sweden
5 May 2007

This action, is about a fireman (Schwartzenegger) who loses his family to a terrorist's bomb in LA, and then goes after the terrorist when the authorities do nothing, is OK! The pace is fast and the effects plentiful!

There are a few logical problems, like why is it the fireman, among thousands of security personnel in DC, that is the only one going after the killer, when the latter is trying to turn DC into an inferno?!

Lots of good actors, nice cinematography and special effects, in short better than average, but the misses are sometimes bad, like not getting Colombia's map correct! That he can travel on someone else's pass is also amazing.

But it is fairly logical, in its own context, so you don't mind the misses the first time you see it!

Not too bad for a hero, over 50 :-)!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Rare Arnie Movie Which Dares To Be Realistic

Author: ArchAngel Michael from Quis Ut Deus?
31 July 2016

Spoilers Ahead:

First, let's give the detractors their due: the movie is too long and moves slowly. Arnie has some miraculous escapes that strain credibility. Yet, finally, with a real director Andrew Davis, the movie departs from Arnie's usual action movie by showing the human costs of violence. Also, as others have stated, he is not invincible. Unlike Commando, where he is hiding behind those rosebushes, he gets beat up and nearly killed several times. Even above this, show me a movie where so many people dupe him making him look like a total dork. It is a rare non-flattering, gear demeaning role until the last half hour when he transforms into the old Arnie we all love. I won't spoil it for you, suffice to say, the person who is the real villain, and true brains of the terrorist operation, is not shown until the very end. To be fair to other Arnie fans, if you enjoy his pure action template (Running Man, Total Recall, Raw Deal) watch another one of his movies. What killed this at the box office is the pacing. It is quite slow and depressing at the beginning when 'The Wolf' explodes his family into low earth orbit. Here is where better editing would have helped the movie. He actually is helped by people (Turturro in prison, CIA guys) so that it isn't the usual Arnie the mastermind, that, forgive me, is not enhanced by close-ups on his face.

It also was attacked by feminists for his violence against women; please, she was trying to kill him, get a life. As your action movie reviewer, yes, it is boring in parts. This really is an attempt by Arnie to broaden his lobotomized action persona like Stallone did with CopLand. They were always watching each other, when one did something the other copied him. Sadly, it is not even close to being the cerebral CopLand. Yet, it is one of the only pure Arnie dramatic performances where he plays a human being and not a demigod. Not only does he get beat up, by men and a woman, but he gets outsmarted and made to look like a complete ass also. It takes bravery to play a more human role and it adds needed depth to the movie. After this movie bombed, so much for Arnie's forays into a dramatic role. The movie follows his revenge mission into Columbia after the Wolf blew up his wife and son while targeting some government big shot. Unlike Commando, where he infiltrates and wipes out a whole army single handed, watch for him using his brain and not his brawn in this old movie. I know, stop laughing, look, it makes for a unique Arnie movie. This is a very accurate depiction of terrorism, their ruthlessness and that, often, the women are just as or more deadly than the men.

The best part is the last half hour with a serious showdown between Arnie and the terrorist couple whom, when not in love, enjoy blowing people to living crap. It is a long, well done action piece that went a long way to redeeming this one. Yes, there are many superior to this one but that is comparing apples to oranges; this really is more of a drama than a pure Arnie action movie. If you want non-stop explosions, arm snapping and vertebrae adjustments, watch a different movie. Sly did CopLand in the late 90's Arnie had to make his own foray into drama. He did surprise me in a few scenes with his pure acting that is far superior to his shaky readings in many of his more successful movies. Be warned, the movie is also singular in its utter absence of humor. Do not expect the usual Arnie one liners delivered with that hilarious deadpan expression. Curtis does well as the villain but his wife wins the 'don't turn your back' award with her instant head-spinning neck snapping of a poor woman Fed. It has many twists and turns, Davis was always good with suspense and there are a couple real dramatic curves in this one. Just be warned: slow and more of a drama than an action movie. If you are expecting Commando, you will just hate it. For Serious Arnie Fans Only. Not That Bad Of A Movie. Q.E.D.

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