September 11 shocked a nation, and it also shocked Hollywood. One of the greatest casualties was Collateral Damage, a movie about a firefighter who witnesses his family die by the hand of a terrorist. Hmm... Firefighter? Terrorists? Sound familiar?
Strangely enough, the plots are a coincidence, but that didn't stop Columbia Pictures from pushing this latest Arnold Schwarzenneger film back to February. Some critics have said it should never have been released, so when I went to go see it, I wasn't expecting much. I was pleasantly surprised.
The face of action movies has changed over the last ten years, from films about super-strong guys with big guns to average guys with powerful positions. That's why actors like Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenneger haven't had much success in recent years. I've been waiting for quite some while for them to offer up something really good to renew my confidence in them, but up until now haven't had much to go with. Thankfully, Collateral Damage is a refreshingly exciting action film of old, with some plot and decent enough acting to hide the holes. The movie is far from perfect, but it's entertaining, it's adventurous, and it's just what I would expect from Arnold.
If you've ever liked Arnold, and many people have, you will like Collateral Damage. It's a great blend of his movies of ten years ago, throwing him into the jungles of Colombia to take on terrorists, with the demands of movies to today, where he is a husband, a father, and not a savage killer. Somehow, Arnold really doesn't kill that many people in this movie, yet he still gets to kick some ass.
Arnold does a good job enough, avoiding most of the one-liners that have given him grief in recent years. He's self-admittedly not the best actor in the world, but he's fun to watch, and can show some emotion. The rest of the cast, containing some familiar if not overly well known actors, does a pretty good job as well.
The plot, though shaky in parts, is good enough to piece together the action and bring closure to things. Amazingly, Collateral Damage has a decent, if not somewhat predictable twist ending, that I enjoyed. I think the actual climax of the film could have been better (shouldn't Arnold not try to create a huge explosion while in downtown Washington, D.C.?), but it could have been a lot worse.
Some won't consider Collateral Damage Arnold's comeback kid, but it's a refreshing reminder that he can still crank out a good action movie here and there.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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