Collateral Damage (2002) / Action-Thriller

MPAA Rated: R for violence and some language
Running Time: 108 min.

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cliff Curtis, Francesca Neri, Elias Koteas, John Leguizamo
Director: Andrew Davis
Screenplay: David Griffiths, Peter Griffiths
Review published February 10, 2002

It looks like things have finally come full circle in Arnold Schwarzenegger's career.  In the beginning he made derivative and ultra-violent action vehicles like RAW DEAL and COMMANDO, which were terrible films that had nothing going for them except they starred Arnie and his charisma.  COLLATERAL DAMAGE is a return to his bygone days when the meaty scripts were still out of reach and he had to build up a reputation, and it's sad to think how the once mighty one-man franchise could have fallen so low after a decade of unparalleled greatness for an action star.

Arnold plays Gordon Brewer, a firefighter who loses his wife and only son in a terrorist bombing.  The bombing is attributed to a Colombian named Claudio "The Wolf" Perrini, who Brewer had seen moments before the bombing, and who escaped back to Colombia.  Frustrated by the CIA's ambivalence towards Brewer's wish for swift justice, he sets out himself to Colombia to take down The Wolf himself. 

COLLATERAL DAMAGE is a stale routine actioner that probably won't thrill anyone but the most die-hard and undiscriminating of action fans.  Schwarzenegger plays the usual one-man army that he has spent an entire career playing, while the basic plot of a man seeking revenge for his family is a typical staple of the genre.  Arnie isn't the only one who fails to tread new territory, as director Andrew Davis has made vehicles similar to this in THE FUGITIVE, ABOVE THE LAW and CODE OF SILENCE.  With nothing really of interest going on, it's a mostly dull affair, with only a few moments of life when John Leguizamo comes in and does some humorous schtick.  Far from the worst vehicle Schwarzenegger has ever done, but certainly not the type of film you'd expect him to make if he plans to ever get his career back on track.

Qwipster's rating:

2002 Vince Leo