Collateral Damage


Directed by: Andrew Davis
Written by:David Griffiths, Peter Griffiths
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elias Koteas, Cliff Curtis, Francesca Neri, John Leguizamo
Released: May 2, 2002
Grade: C-

I felt like suing the filmmakers for damages after having endured the 108 minute abomination that is Collateral Damage.  It is a disgustingly cliched, tacky affair that assumes we have no intelligence or ability to complete logical thoughts.  An absolute disgrace.

Gordon Brewer (Scharzenegger) is a firefighter.  That way, we’ll see him as a decent guy.  His wife and child are killed in a terrorist explosion when Gordon is late in picking them up.  Now we’re supposed to feel sorry for him.  Then he finds the CIA and FBI cannot locate the man responsible, Claudio Perrini (Curtis), because he’s fled back home to Colombia.  Tragic, isn’t it?  So Gordon takes justice into his own hands, goes to Columbia, manages to infiltrate the militia against billion-to-one odds and gets his man.  Excuse me if I’m not busting out of my seat with excitement.

I cannot stand movies that justify revenge killings.  Our emotions are milked by seeing poor innocent Gordon have his beautiful wife and son blown up right in front of him.  The Colombians are to blame 100% (as America has no responsibility whatsoever) and so he goes and blows some of them up.  It’s an eye for an eye.  Wouldn’t it be a great society if we could all do this?  It’s ironic that Americans are currently trying to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian to create a state of peace when films like this are screening in their own country.

Gordon must be the luckiest son of a bitch that ever existed.  He’s fired at constantly and is never injured.  He jumps off a massive waterfall and manages to survive with only a few scratches.  He can wire a grenade with a rubber-band and predict exactly when the rubber band will break.  He sense when he’s in danger and manages to avoid a bomb exploding in his face by a matter of seconds.  Oh, and he has a moral fibre and despite obliterating hundreds of men, has a thing against killing women and children.  Well excuse me if I say, what a f***ing joke.

The editing and special effects stink.  There’s some stunts early on where it’s clear Arnold is using a body double.  Many scenes don’t flow seem jumbled and inconsistent.  All the good guys can preempt the actions of the bad guys - probably because everyone acts like a cardboard cut-out.  Hollywood stars John Leguizamo and John Turturro make small cameo like appearances but are wasted.  In fact, the sound quality was so poor during Turturro’s scene, I couldn’t understand half of his dialogue.  For a film with an $85 budget, that’s farcical.

When you take a script of the worst magnitude and combine it with one of the year’s worst directing efforts, you have a film that will be included in the list of most critic’s worst of 2002 lists.  The film was to be released last October but following the events of September 11, the opening was delayed.  It’s my contention the opening should have been delayed permanently.