A review of  Collateral Damage” by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: *

Rating: R for violence and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes



“Collateral Damage” leaps straight out of the box with high-profile notoriety due to its status as an entertainment “victim” of Hollywood’s post-9/11 panic regarding audiences and movie violence.  Lucky break for Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose tenuous film career desperately needs the press.

Not that the coverage will matter a whit after audiences get a load of this turkey.  At this point it’s safe to call it official:  Arnold, at 54, is too old for his gig as an action hero.  Arnold is L.A. firefighter Gordy Brewer, a decent, family loving saint who runs late to pick up his wife and son for an appointment, and loses them in a catastrophic bomb blast of a downtown high-rise (real-life similarities that hit too close to home in the early days following America’s shocking terrorist attacks).  The explosion is credited to a vicious, Colombian rebel leader known as “The Wolf”,  a soulless killer consumed by hate and driven by rage.  Heads up, Wolf-man - Gordy’s got a little inner rage of his own to fuel the fire.

Typical of the government investigation process, the search for the bomber is tangled in a mess of red tape.  But Gordy is steeped in integrity so deep that he proves it by heading into Colombia to track down his family’s murderer and bring him to justice.

Improbabilities and questions abound.  1.  How does an everyday firefighter create the quick connections necessary to enter war-torn Colombia?  2. Firefighters do well with inferno, but when did they become explosives experts?  3.  Why does Arnold talk like he’s chewing a mouthful of marbles?   4.  Are talents like John Leguizamo, Elias Koteas, and John Turturro this desperate for onscreen  recognition?

Nothing new on the horizon here.  Stereotyped Colombians, corrupt CIA and FBI agents, and a short course in Drugonomics 101. Acting is thoroughly forgettable, as is a plot “twist” meant to thrill and astonish (and that I saw coming a mile off).  I’m sorry to say that this should seal the deal – Arnold is not, nor will he be, back.