Review by: Gareth Von Kallenbach firstname.lastname@example.org
In Hollywood as in so many things, timing can be everything. The right move
at the right time can enable success while a mistimed move can lead to disaster.
After the horrific attacks of September 11th, many studios shelved
films with content they considered to insensitive for a nation that was still
recovering from the tragic events that changed our history. It has been said
that time heals all wounds and with that in mind studious are starting to
release films that have been shelved hoping that audiences are ready to embrace
The first of the delayed films is the Arnold Schwarzenegger adventure
"Collateral Damage" The films centers on the life of Captain Gordon
Brewer (Schwarzenegger), a fireman, loving and devoted husband and father, and
solid citizen. That is until the day Gordy is caught in a violent explosion that
leaves him wounded and his family dead. A Columbian terrorist know as "El
Lobo" (Cliff Curtis), is waging a war on America in an effort to get CIA
advisors out of his nation. Grieving and looking for justice Gordon is dismayed
to learn that little will be done on his behalf as the State Department wishes
to negotiate with the Columbian government and pursuing the terrorists would
hamper the negotiations. Furthermore, Gordon realizes the police officer who he
spoke with shortly before the explosion was the terrorist, and is enraged by the
memory that the man smiled at him when he was informed by Gordon that he was
only parking a short while to pick up his family.
Brewer learns that his family was considered "collateral damage"
(unintended victims) by the terrorists and those loyal to their ideals and as
such, they have little remorse over killing them. This sends Brewer into a rage,
and he decides to take matters into his own hands, and kill the man who is
responsible for the attack. Brewer gathers as much information as he can on his
target and Columbia and ventures into the heart of terrorist controlled areas to
exact his revenge. Aided by information from an ex-CIA agent and a mechanic who
works for the terrorist organization (John Turturro), Gordon is soon within
striking distance of his target when fate steps in. The wife and son of El Lobo
arrive unexpectedly, and Brewer decides to save them and expose himself, rather
than follow in the steps of the man he has sworn vengeance against.
Brewer soon becomes a captive and must find a way to escape his captors and
stop the next wave of bombings while attempting to kill the man who caused his
Schwarzenegger is good in the role as he is a sympathetic and semi-realistic
character. There are no scenes of him gunning down large hordes of bad guys, as
his character does not shoot a gun in the entire film. Brewer relies on his
training as a fireman and his knowledge of incendiaries as well as his rage to
complete his task and is not some super killing machine. Schwarzenegger is
growing in his roles as he is learning to let the story propel his films rather
than FX and explosions. While a less violent film may put off some of his loyal
fans, I found the character development and story to be refreshing for an action
film as it was not a film with cartoon characters and gratuitous violence. While
there is action, it is not overly graphic compared to other films in the genre
and is done in order to propel the story and explain the characters rather than
for shock value. Loosely inspired by the western "Seven Men From Now"
"Collateral Damage" ask viewers to look at both sides of a conflict
and shows that there can often be a thin line between revenge and terrorism and
how politics can drive people to take actions that they never would have thought
themselves capable of. The film explains why El Lobo takes the actions that he
has and offers the notion that Gordon and El Lobo are really not so different
when both s
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