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Collateral Damage

One of Arnold's best thrillers, helmed by the Director of "The Fugitive" COLLATERAL DAMAGE is a no-nonsense action flick loaded with suspense.

Originally scheduled to hit theaters less than a month after 9/11, Warner Bros. delayed the film until the following Spring of 2002. Its box office suffered, perhaps due to it being "too soon" for a terrorist thriller for audiences to accept. Scenes with Sofia Vergara as a hijacker were deleted when the airplane scenes were perceived as too close to the attack on New York.

Seeing the film now, it hands Schwarzenegger one of his best roles as Firefighter Gordy Brewer. After his wife and young son are killed in a terrorist bombing, he becomes a one man wrecking crew in pursuit of revenge.

Director Andrew Davis understands Arnold's strengths and stretches them, giving him one of his most dramatic roles. He's just as good in the emotional moments as he is during the ass-kicking scenes, which are plentiful.

Davis also steered Chuck Norris to his best film, "Code of Silence". Too bad he never worked with Van Damme!

CIA and FBI operatives all warn Gordy to stay out of the fray, but they are sympathetic to his position. Elias Koteas (The Sopranos) is an oily Peter Brandt, one of those guys who seems as comfortable in the jungles of Columbia as he does in the corridors of DC. Harry Lennix, so terrific as Director Harold Cooper in "The Blacklist" stars an an FBI Agent and Join Turturro (O Brother, Where Art Thou?) is a quirky hoot as a Columbian operative.

John Leguizamo (Executive Decision) is hilariously lethal as a cog near the top of the drug operation under the wing of our lead bomber, El Lobo, played with menace by Cliff Curtis (Avatar: The Way of Water, Meg 2).

Arnold is relentless as he moves across South America in one dangerous leg after another, growing ever closer to El Lobo, who he actually talked to by chance, right before the bombing that killed his family. He's seen him, he knows him and he's bit stopping until he kills him.

If you think it's just Arnold against the terrorist army, you're forgetting that the CIA is involved. A massive dual attack by the CIA and the terrorists against a local prison where Gordy is being held is an explosive highlight. A CIA attack on the Colombian hills compound of El Lobe is another. It's interesting that Schwarzenegger never fires a gun in this movie, but firemen certainly know their way around an axe.

The finale set in Washington DC is an absolute blast, delivering on multiple levels, including a clever plot twist, as the threat moves back to America.

With an $85 million budget, production values are first rate and Graeme Revell (The Siege, Blow) delivers a strong action music score.

Smarter and better directed than many of Schwarzenegger's action films of the era, COLLATERAL DAMAGE serves up a solid B.

(Although I do wonder how El Lobo seems to pop in and out of the USA with ease, the biggest sign this was filmed pre-9/11.)

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Unknown member
Feb 17

Another favorite! I enjoy Cliff Curtis always.

Unknown member
Feb 17
Replying to

He's always good. I had forgotten this Arnold movie, its a keeper.