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COLLATERAL DAMAGE (R)
Paramount Studios
Official Site
Director: Andrew Davis
Producers: Howard W. Koch Jr, David Foster
Written by: David Griffiths & Peter Griffiths
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elias Koteas

Rating: out of 5


On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center was hit by two planes and subsequently collapsed, changing the world forever, surely, but also (and much less importantly) changing the way we watch action movies. Gone are the days when we can gleefully watch a Van Damme or a Stallone blow up a building full of naughty people, stopping only to make a witty pun or remark. Every time we see such a scene, we are forced to drag up memories of that fateful day and that, in general, kinda kills the mood of a movie. Most action movies these days have pretty much bowed to the post-attack pressure, keeping everything rather subdued in the large explosion category. However, there is one movie out there that is bravely addressing the terrorism issue head on. Before I get to it, let me first address the mentality that one must have to enjoy the following “film.” You must:

A) Believe that we, as a country, can do no wrong.

B) Think that we should bomb anyone who is different from us.

C) Have the I.Q. of a walnut.

If A,B, and C all apply to you, then you might want to skip the rest of this review and go get your tickets early because, Brother, COLLATERAL DAMAGE is your kind of cinema.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE is the latest offering from our old movie-house pal Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it is, without question, the most patently offensive, ill-conceived, wrong-headed excuse for entertainment that this reviewer has seen in a very long time. The plot is… Arnold is a guy whose family gets blown up a terrorist’s bomb. He is understandably peeved, so he goes to Colombia (the terrorists are Colombian) and hunts down the leader. All right, fine. The bare bones of the plot are no worse than most of the crap one finds on the USA network at 2:00 am. What makes this movie so difficult to stomach is, in part, the gung-ho Republican politics that are gently woven into the film's dialogue. DAMAGE takes the stance that so many Americans have taken lately; that of “We’re Americans and couldn’t possibly have done anything to any foreign country because, as I said, we’re Americans.” Now, I’m not saying I think we deserve to get bombed or anything like that. I’m just saying that we, as a nation, aren’t as innocent as a lot of people think we are.

So there’s that. The politics are now officially put aside, which is fine, because there are so many other things to hate in this movie. Let’s start with the big chunk of Austrian beef himself. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a horrible actor. Seriously guys, this lummox sucks like no one on the planet has sucked before and not just in this movie! No, he is routinely terrible in every picture he’s ever done. It’s no wonder he’s most famous for playing an emotionless cyborg. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if he in fact WAS an emotionless cyborg because I have never seen someone as out of touch with human feelings as Arnie seems to be. “But what about TRUE LIES?” Funny movie, yes, but not because of Arnold. “TOTAL RECALL was cool.” Yes, but again, not because of Arnold. There isn’t a single movie that he has made that wouldn’t be improved by another actor, ANY actor, playing his part. Freakin’ Haley Joel Osment would have given a more convincing performance in that END OF DAYS mess. Arnold sucks. Moving on.

The movie LORD OF THE RINGS is set in a fictional world of magic and enchantment filled with hobbits and wizards and the like. It, my friends, is more in touch with reality than COLLATERAL DAMAGE is. Nothing makes any damn sense in DAMAGE-land. A whole crowd of people is caught in a massive explosion, yet only Arnold’s wife and kids are killed. Some terrorists are engulfed in a fireball that melts steel, destroys concrete walls, and shreds a huge motorcycle, yet they come out unscathed and ready to do battle. At one point in the movie, Arnold is posing as a handyman in a cocaine factory (long story) and is asked to fix a generator. In plain sight of everyone, he pretends to work on it while building a bomb for SIX HOURS! No one notices anything! The list goes on and on and on. And let’s not forget that this movie doesn’t even fit into the action genre because there is exactly ONE action scene in the entire damn film.

Okay, so I could continue but really, there’s no point. This is a terrible movie, directed poorly and acted out by a man who deserves no more chances in Hollywood. I think the thing that bugs me the most about all of this is that COLLATERAL DAMAGE is more than likely going to be a box hit to some degree. It’s just frustrating to see a movie prove how dumb we, as a collective nation, can be.

—CLINTON DAVIS

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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