Films addressing domestic and international terrorism have been around for a long time. We’ve come to accept them and tell ourselves it can never happen except in the movies. On September 11, 2001, America’s security was incinerated in a series of horrific attacks on the United States. For Arnold Schwarzenegger, this put a halt to the release of his new film Collateral Damage, which dealt with issues that closely mirror the events of that day. The release was delayed for several months into early 2002 where it was sh…nned due to the touchy subject. Nearly a year later, Collateral Damage makes it way to DVD and hopes to dodge the unlikely bad timing of its theatrical release.
In the blink of an eye, Gordy Brewer’s life is shattered. This once proud fireman is left grieving the death of his wife and daughter at the hands of a terrorist attack in downtown Los Angeles. As fate would dictate, Gordy bumped into the terrorist right before the explosion and with the help of an ex-CIA operative, traces El Lobo back to Columbia. With nothing left to live for, Gordy travels to South America and eventually Washington DC with one mission only: to kill the man that murdered his family.
I’m typically a fan of Arnold action movies, even some of the forgettable ones such as Eraser and Last Action Hero. For me to not enjoy Collateral Damage it would have to stink and stink bad. Thankfully, Arnold comes through in a couple of ways. He manages to flex his muscle and show a tender side as well when he becomes involved with the family of the terrorist. Watching Arnold run through the jungle and fall helplessly down a waterfall brought back memories of Predator. The attack on the militant complex was full of the CGI missle smoke-trails that helped make True Lies the success it was. Finally, the snake execution scene was downright disturbing and nasty at the same time. Indeed, there is plenty of action strewn throughout, as believable or unbelievable it might be.
Arnold’s domestic side comes to life as he is held prisoner in the militant complex and nursed by the terrorist’s wife, Selena. During these scenes Arnold is believable as pain-stricken Gordy as he pleas with Selena for his life and the life of her child. It is this affection for the enemy that leads to an “Arlington Road” ending and solidifies the decent performance by Arnold and the outstanding performance by Francesca Nori as Selena.
Collateral Damage’s Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is above average, but didn’t quite jump out as a stellar soundtrack. Don’t get me wrong, its no stinker either. My subwoofer hummed a low roar on several instances and the rockets and gun fire pushed my amps. But in the end, I didn’t have the urge to play it again and be blown away.
There’s a lot of diverse terrain and characters to look at in Collateral Damage, and thankfully Warner Brothers has given us a transfer so they all stand out. Presented in Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1, there’s really nothing bad to say about any of the scenes on the entire disc. Where I’d expect issues in explosions or dense jungle footage I found none. Good stuff, especially for those of you with larger screens.
The extras offered are fairly standard and uninteresting, beginning with A Hero in a New Era, which draws the parallels between Collateral Damage and September 11. Next up is cast and crew information, a few additional scenes which were rightfully cut, a full-length commentary, some extensive behind-the-scenes footage and finally a standard trailer.
Collateral Damage is a great popcorn flick that is full of both explosive action scenes and gigantic plot holes. This isn’t Arnold’s coming out party by any means, but it’s definitely not a film you should overlook on the rental shelf because a Terminator isn’t on the cover. Give Collateral Damage a rent and chances are, you’ll be entertained.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Theatrical trailer
- “The Hero in a New Era”
- Behind the scenes
- Additional Scenes