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Monday, 1 January 2018

Retro Review: Collateral Damage (2002) #Schwarzenegger

Collateral Damage
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elias Koteas, Cliff Curtis, John Leguizamo, John Turturro, Jane Lynch
Genre: Action
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $78 million 

Plot: After his family is killed by a terrorist act, a firefighter goes in search of the perpetrator responsible 

'Damage Control'

Much like with Robin Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger's glory years of the 1980s and 1990s were over and as he entered the 2000s decade, his growing list of hits began to slow down and his follow-ups saw a decline in quality. Although arguably in say 1996's Jingle All The Way (which I enjoyed) and Eraser, reception for both of those films ranged from negative to lukewarm with the latter. & ever since they came out, Arnie hasn't scored a major box office hit; that, and I've never really liked his post-2000s efforts. After the smash that was The Fugitive, director Andrew Davis turned his attention to Schwarzenegger and whilst there is no doubt he is a great action movie star, he is poorly utilised in an action role where it demands less of his gung-ho antics and more of his emotive side. Collateral Damage is further proof that latter Schwarzenegger's film offerings - but for perhaps Escape Plan- have virtually nothing on his earlier outings such as Commando, Terminator 2, True Lies, Total Recall, the original Terminator, Kindergarten Cop

A firefighter seeks vengeance after his wife and child are killed in a terrorist attack and goes on a one-man mission to infiltrate the Colombian terrorist organisation who were behind the atrocity. Which sounds run-of-the-mill, but when you throw Schwarzenegger and rely on fewer action sequences into the mix, it sounds rather out-of-place actually. & by the looks of it, it certainly is. 

There are a few recognisable B-movie actors in this movie: Miguel Sandoval who was in Do The Right Thing, as well as John Leguizamo (Too Wong Foo, Super Mario Bros) & John Turturro (Do The Right Thing, Barton Fink). But they all seem to have little effect on the film. Here, Turturro looks like he hasn't changed a bit in this movie since 1989's Spike Lee multicultural comedy. 

This is the most uncharacteristically Arnie- like film with Arnold Schwarzenegger in it and it operates more on the lines of a thriller than a straight-up action film that it is billed as. One who tunes into a Schwarzenegger movie expect great, mammoth and entertaining action scenes - sadly, it is just not here. Arnie's onscreen charisma is nowhere to be seen in Collateral Damage, possibly in an attempt to showcase a different type of action star performance, but regardless, Gordon Brewer is utterly unmemorable as far as Schwarzenegger characters go. 

The narrative is painfully bloated and told in a way that is so droning, it is unreal. Quantity-wise, the action scenes are pitifully few and quality-wise, they look pedestrian and not very exciting or entertaining. A far cry from Arnie's heavy-hitters in Terminator 2, True Lies (& for me personally Arnie's last best ever movie), Commando, Total Recall, Collateral Damage is one of the number of stains on his ever established career. The casts' efforts are momentarily squandered by not only the drab material and less of the ass-kicking action one expects, but through their characters being so uninteresting, one could care less about them. Especially the protagonists. Hated the female character, who turned out to be evil after aiding Gordon and when she died, I had a smile on my face. 

Without any memorable one-liners, many exciting sequences Collateral Damage is cheap straight to DVD action movie fodder in disguise and at almost 2 hours long, the flaccid narrative drags even further. Even replacing Schwarzenegger with a Z-grade actor, it still wouldn't make a tremendous amount of difference, whatsoever & it would still be a dry action film. 

That, and it is predominately too overly dull for words. 

Final Verdict:

This is no Commando, Terminator 2, Predator, True Lies or Total Recall, but it could have turned out to be overly decent. Yet Collateral Damage doesn't appear to be or try to be even that, as well. It's forgettable, it's nothing worth shouting about and as an Arnie film, it underwhelms in every sense.  

For a movie titled Collateral Damage, coincidentally enough this film so did that to Arnie's fledgling career.


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