Collateral Damage (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner04/08/2002

Two out of five stars
Running Time: 108 mins

If Collateral Damage is to be remembered for anything, it will be for being pulled from it’s original release date because of the events of September 11th. Clearly this was out of respect for the victims and relatives, but a by-product would have been avoiding the story appearing even more ludicrous when compared to the awful reality of that day.

Arnie plays fireman Gordon Brewer whose wife and child are killed by a terrorist bomb in Los Angeles, planted by number one terrorist El Lobo. Armed only with a map, a passport and an unquenchable thirst for revenge, Arnie sets off for the jungles of Colombia to seek out Senor Lobo.

What then ensues is the predictable, three-act revenge thriller, long on action and short on motives which hint at anything other than vindication...This may be enough for the dwindling core of Arnie fans who, let’s face it, have the political savvy of a lamp-post, but many of the world’s population are starting to ask questions about Hollywood films such as this that are little more than clumsy (and, increasingly, offensive) propaganda.

Let’s take Elias Korteas’ CIA Latin American advisor, secretly helping the Colombian government and the paramilitaries. He’s not exactly played as a hero but nobody questions where he and his team get the money. The reality is that, in the real world, such funding was achieved by the CIA peddling heroin into black ghettos in American cities. Later, the Iran/Contra scandal revealed more murky dealings.

And then there’s Arnie's nemesis: the stereotyped terrorist. His one slogan is: America Get Out, but what he lacks in ideas he makes up for in bombs. Like most villains in American films, especially foreign villains, El Lobo is pure evil. But, hang on a minute; he’s got a wife and a child. Maybe they’ll make a decent man out of him? Predictably enough, no - his wife is just as evil as he is. This simplistic good and evil concept has long been a staple of Hollywood. What is more worrying is that it now appears to constitute American foreign policy.

At 55, Arnie’s beginning to look a bit long in the tooth for this kind of nonsense, though what to do with an old action hero? El Lobo’s wife is played by the lovely Francesca Neri but try as she might, she is not convincing as The Most Evil Woman in the World, though she looks stunning throughout thanks to some carefully applied make-up. Amazing what you can get in the middle of the jungle these days.

The film moves right along but it’s all so predictable. Andrew Davis directs at a lick and probably with the realisation that his is not to reason why, but to get it up there on screen. Some will wish he hadn’t bothered.

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Collateral Damage (15)
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Content updated: 21/10/2017 18:36

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