Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage Image
Metascore
33

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 73 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Family man and firefighter Gordon Brewer (Schwarzenegger) is plunged into the complex and dangerous world of international terrorism after he loses his wife and child in a bombing credited to Claudio "The Wolf" Perrini (Curtis). Frustrated with the official investigation and haunted by theFamily man and firefighter Gordon Brewer (Schwarzenegger) is plunged into the complex and dangerous world of international terrorism after he loses his wife and child in a bombing credited to Claudio "The Wolf" Perrini (Curtis). Frustrated with the official investigation and haunted by the thought that the man responsible for murdering his family might never be brought to justice, Brewer takes matters into his own hands and travels to Colombia to track down the terrorist. (Warner Bros.) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 34
  2. Negative: 16 out of 34
  1. 75
    My guess is that the average firefighter, like the average American moviegoer, might sort of enjoy the movie, which is a skillfully made example of your typical Schwarzenegger action film.
  2. Morally simple, action packed and explosive.
  3. 60
    It's throwback, formula Ah-nuld all the way, a straightforward and simple revenge thriller.
  4. Utterly predictable, noisy and stupid.
  5. Head-scratchingly ordinary, given Schwarzenegger's need to prove he's still a virile (i.e., non-aging) action hero.
  6. There's nothing special about this movie -- it's just business as usual for today's debased action-movie genre.
  7. 10
    Abort! Abort! It's that time of year when Hollywood releases movies it should never have made in the first place.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 16
  2. Negative: 7 out of 16
  1. Jan 2, 2015
    7
    Razoável... Um filme com grande potencial porém executado de forma errada porém tem seus momentos. Possui muitas cenas memoráveis porém oRazoável... Um filme com grande potencial porém executado de forma errada porém tem seus momentos. Possui muitas cenas memoráveis porém o filme em si não fica muito na memória. Schwarzenegger dar uma grande e interessante performance Expand
  2. Jan 26, 2011
    6
    You can tell that Schwarzenegger was losing a step filming this movie, that or the editors need to find a new profession, because some of theYou can tell that Schwarzenegger was losing a step filming this movie, that or the editors need to find a new profession, because some of the fighting scenes were so off they were laughable. If you can overlook that you have an enjoyable action movie that isn't anything special but good enough for a movie for guys. Leguizamo adds some flair to the movie with his quick tongued delivery as a drug trafficker. Expand
  3. Apr 4, 2016
    2
    Arnold Schwarzenegger as a man of feeling? His eyes puffy with tears? That's just one of the unforgettable, yet strangely irrelevant imagesArnold Schwarzenegger as a man of feeling? His eyes puffy with tears? That's just one of the unforgettable, yet strangely irrelevant images from "Collateral Damage," in which Mr. Schwarzenegger plays Gordy, a Los Angeles firefighter who finds out exactly how ineffectual the United States government is when his wife and young son are killed by a Colombian terrorist, Claudio (Cliff Curtis).

    When it's obvious that Gordy is a pawn being used by a bloodthirsty C.I.A. agent, Brandt (Elias Koteas), to further his goals in battling Colombian terrorists, Gordy takes things into his own hands. And instead of wrapping his guttural mutterings around wisecracks, the hero of "Damage" begins an odyssey that takes him to the jungles of Panama, through which he treks in order to slip into Colombia to avenge his family.

    "Damage" was withdrawn from an intended fall 2001 release after the events of Sept. 11, though it feels like a film that's been kept on the shelf since 1989. The movie sat around for so long that it has managed to become newsworthy again: a public service commercial ran during the Super Bowl equated cocaine use with financing terrorism, an idea that may give "Damage" a new lease on life. And "Collateral Damage" — the title derives from the observation that Gordy's wife and son were collateral damage in the battle between Colombian terrorists and the United States — could use a new lease.

    Except for the brief passings of emotion on Gordy's face, this is an exhausted rehash of Mr. Schwarzenegger breaking through red tape to struggle against his nemesis of the moment. The trumpeting of past triumphs by the director also surfaces. The ads remind us that the movie is directed by Andrew Davis, the man behind "The Fugitive." Mr. Davis also directed "Chain Reaction," another limp, somnolent action picture with a generic martial title. And like "Reaction," "Damage" only shows real confidence during the action sequences, like the one involving a fire that Gordy and his men fight during the opening credits; the flames roar and hiss like Godzilla.

    After these sequences, Mr. Davis can't find a way to get back to the war of conscience that he juxtaposes with the conflagrations. As a result, the attempts to bring characterization to the movie — like awkward exchanges on political stances when Gordy and Claudio meet — are so awkward that you expect the actors to break up.

    "Seems like we're both willing to kill for a cause, so what's the difference between you and I?" Claudio sneers smugly, after having been accused of murdering innocent women and children on his path to his political ends. (The speechifying will have a leaden effect on audiences.) "The difference," Gordy says, shifting his granite facial planes toward the camera — bringing to mind an SUV twirling on a pedestal in a commercial — "is I'm only gonna kill you."

    There are moments when "Damage" wants to stretch its tired action-man skin in a new direction. Gordy is trapped as much between his own anger and guilt as he is in a struggle between the two warring sides. The C.I.A. wants to use him as bait while the terrorists want to take him hostage.

    He befriends a Colombian woman (Francesca Neri, who, like most Colombians in "Damage," speaks good English). When these elements are playing out, the picture shows glimpses of aspiring to a Graham Greene story. But as the bodies pile up and Gordy's jaw becomes more deeply set, the plot is more like a Graham Cracker story — crumbly and insubstantial.

    And Claudio, despite his intellectual poses, is still capable of the kinds of baroque violence redolent of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. When a subordinate of Claudio's lets him down — apparently, even with the sorry state of the world economy, good criminal help is still hard to find — Claudio has the man's mouth forced open so that a snake can crawl into his body.

    Amazingly, given its brief 110-minute length, "Collateral Damage" still manages to squeeze in several different endings — like a bad pop song that doesn't know when to fade out. But as Mr. Schwarzenegger's stature as an action figure diminishes, his effort to retain a piece of the market is touching.

    "Collateral Damage" has one thing going for it — it's one of the few movies in which an American (John Turturro) plays a Canadian, instead of the other way around. He is Armstrong, a lower-tier reprobate who is a kindred piece of casting to the bouncing, bow-legged cocaine factory owner portrayed for a couple of scenes by John Leguizamo. The only times that Mr. Schwarzenegger seems comfortable is with these calculated scene-stealers. At least with them, "Collateral Damage" doesn't seem hypocritical, attacking the same violence that infuses it.
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See all 16 User Reviews

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