Movie Review - Collateral Damage

- wadE

First off, Happy St. Valentine's Day! and a special "will you be my valentine?" to Chelle!!!

Ok, Collateral Damage starring Ah-nuld!!!

As most of you probably know, this movie was slated for a fall release, but the events of 9/11 kinda put this charming little story about terrorism on US soil on hold.

The basics: This is more or less a classic Arnold movie. The only twist is that instead of being an ex-cop, ex-Special Ops soldier, or a secret agent, Arnold is your average everyday fireman. (but you just know that those fireman skills will come in handy at some point!!!) The fact he is a fireman is probably the only reason this movie got released. I sometimes wonder if terrorists get their ideas from these movies. Ways to plant their bombs, ways to detonate them, etc.

But I digress... The plot: Arnold's wife and son are killed in a terrorist bombing done by "El Lobo"..."The Wolf" for my non-spanish-speaking readers. Even though they have a picture of the wolf from about two inches away (from some ATM camera, or security camera of some sort) they can't seem to ID the guy. The Wolf is a Columbian rebel who wants the US out of his country.

The more I think about it, this movie is kinda eerie with similarities too all that has happened. There is even a scene of a skyline with two big twin "triangle shaped" towers. Very strange.

Anyway, Arnold (whose name in the movie is "Gordie", instead of the usual Jack/John ______ <-- insert kick-ass last name here. I guess that's the way to make him a bit more of an "every-man") isn't happy with the progress of the CIA, so he decides to take matters into his own hands, and heads down to Columbia.

I won't ruin the movie with details, but the best parts of the movie are in Columbia. He runs into John Turturro, and John Leguizamo. They serve as the comic relief that is a staple of any Arnold movie. The problem is that these comedic scenes only happen in the middle of the movie and don't appear anywhere else...and Arnold doesn't have any cute catch phrases that will hold you over through the beginning and ends of the movie to satisfy that need for comic relief... no "stick around" or anything.

Despite the missing comedy, the movie is pretty good, and the ending has a little twist, which I guessed right near the end, but that didn't ruin a thing.

What works: Arnold! Is there ANYONE who will be able to take over for this guy as he gets even older? He is still the man when it comes to action movies, and no one grunts like Arnie, NO ONE!!!

What doesn't: The beauty of Arnold's movies is that outside of being huge, there is usually some sort of credibility given to the abilities of his character (he used to be: a cop, a secret agent, special ops soldier, etc.). Having him be a fireman, and attempt to go down to Columbia and infiltrate a rebel lair is a bit of a stretch, even for an action movie. However, his fireman's knowledge and skills do play an important part in the movie.

Quick refresher on wadE's movie ratings:
10 - Go out and see this movie right away! In fact, see it twice!
9 - Go see it, it's really good!
8 - It's pretty good, worth your 8 bucks.
7 - It's alright...not worth 8 bucks, but maybe a matinee.
6 - It's ok, wait for it to come to the dollar theater.
5 - It's decent, wait to rent it.
4 - It's mildly entertaining, catch it on HBO.
3 - It's not so good... but if you are up at 2AM and it comes on USA, TNT, or TBS, go ahead and watch it.
2 - It's terrible...if you are up at 2AM and it comes on USA, TNT, or TBS, turn the channel immediately.
1 - It's a crime against humanity...absolutely awful.
0 - How does a movie like this even get made...I mean much crack is being smoked in Hollywood???

With that being said, I would give Collateral Damage a 7. It's a straight up action movie, no Tom Clancy-esque government intrigue here. It has great explosions, good little nuggets of humor, and it's very timely. If you are a big Arnold fan like I am, it's closer to an 8.

- 02/14/2002

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