COLLATERAL DAMAGE is inflicted upon intelligence in this 2002 Arnold Scharzenegger vehicle, directed by Andrew Davis. Davis’ good track record with action thrillers includes The Fugitive, Under Siege and The Package, but this $85,000,000 turkey is nothing to be proud of. Former soldier-turned-political activist Stan Goff, hired as a consultant on the production, called it “yet another guns and fire-balls, macho death-cult, fascist film-myth.” Pretty much.
A bombing in the Colombian consulate in L.A. not only kills Colombian officials and US government agents, but the wife and son of fireman ‘Gordy Brewer’ (Arnold, 54 and vengeful—what else?). Wronged, determined and—considering how much pummeling he takes—indestructible, Gordy/Arn is also a firefighter with considerable latent destructive potential. He has a supporting cast of slimy bad guys to unleash it on, including Cliff Curtis (he makes a guy swallow a snake—a new low in yuck), Elias Koteas, Francesca Neri (bad girl who must pay), John Leguizamo and John Turturro. Few will emerge whole on the other end of 108 minutes.
Paint-by-numbers bull naturally has proficiently handled explosions, but the script’s stealth right-wing treatment of Colombia’s problems is a travesty. For example, it’s important to make sure the audience sees the ruthless guerrillas/terroristas sport berets with red stars and have Che Guevara posters in their tent, so we know they must be exterminated like roaches. How else can justice prevail—do you want coffee to cost more than coke? The rip-out-the-jams finale is so capital-O Outlandish it’s downright laughable.
Three decades and a dozens of films into his career, the Austrian Ego still can’t convince with any emotion or depth. When his bulk, glares and posing is arranged to effect—The Terminator, Predator, True Lies–-it can suffice for rousing popcorn action fun. When he’s tasked with drama, comedy, or anything with a touch lighter than a barbell, you get risible exercises like this.
Primarily filmed in Mexico, selling out Colombia by offering locations in and around Cotapec in the State of Veracruz. With Miguel Sandoval, Jsu Garcia, Jane Lynch, Raymond Cruz. A box-office bomb, smoking out only $78,382,000.