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Collateral Damage

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elias Koteas, Francesca Neri, Cliff Curtis, John Leguizamo, John Turturro, and Jsu Garcia
Directed by: Andrew Davis
Rated: R

 

Austrian born Hunkasnarus Rex Arnold Schwarzeneggerhiemerschmidt is as American as apple pie! Sure he's imported, so are half our citizens. We adore him. I admit I'm a huge fan. He always gets the bad guys real good and seems genuinely nice off screen.

That having been said, Collateral Damage is my least favorite of Arnie's knock-em sock-em slow-mo - bursts of brimstone -FX laden flicks so far. There are redeeming parts, and clever one liners delivered with his signature adorably accented droll delivery that makes you shimmy with excitement…but for the most part, the film just has way too many never- could- happen- scenarios (even for an Arnie film) placed in a story where we are suppose to believe this regular Joe type gets caught-up in terrorism after he is directly affected by it. So the film's setup of look-at-the-realism disappeared — fast.

Collateral Damage starts with a Backdraft intense fire scene where we learn Gordon "Gordie" Brewer (Arnold) is not just a great fireman but a bonifide hero type. Firemen in general have that special mix of manly DNA that drives them into the flames to save Fluffy the house dog. And Gordie is chiseled directly from that creed. Absolutely willing to risk his own life for another. Good thing 'cause he's about to be put to a hero's test...

He's late to meet his beloved son and wife downtown. As they spot him and the family waves with glee to each other, the building between them is blown up. The wife and child perish.

Gordie is crushed, and friggin rabid (well, as rabid as Arnie acting abilities allow the character to be...he looked a bit steamed at least). Ah, but Gordie's seen the terrorist responsible for the attack, the one they call "The Wolf" or "el Lobo (Cliff Curtis)" a Colombian gorilla with a deep hatred for America. El Lobo escapes into the Colombian jungles. Sorry Gordie, he's now just unfindable. The government calls it a day. But, Gordie figures if the government can't get him, he will!

Oh, yeah, we are heading on the road to vengeance with Arnold! Yippee. We get a few semi-cameos from John Turturroturtle and John Leguizamo as we journey deep into the under belly of Colombia to find Gordie's nemesis el Lobo.

Gordie makes it past oodles of obstacles, as we'd expect from any self-respecting action packed film! And of course he manages to find el Lobo in about two days. Remember, this Lobo character is the man the government has deemed simply unfindable (you can see the patriotic metaphor here?).

Sounds great right? Bad guy taken out by one tough firefighter with a big huge hair across his (still) buff butt? Yeah, but, it loses something with the jumping around and attempts to be intelligent without really explaining what the hell they are talking about. We get the feeling all of Columbia is a cesspool ridden with crime…okay, maybe it is. I doubt it. Remember Proof of Life? Dear God that was scary. The characters were real for us…Plus they explained the back story a wee bit more. I know, I know Schwartzenegger doesn't need no stinking plot line! We want to see him save the day. Agreed. Then make it all action and tough, don't tease us with a storyline is all I'm saying!

Mr. Schwartzenegger is aging like a fine California Merlot. Let's face it he's a cool movie star. Not so much sexy but one feels he's a protector extraordinaire even if in reality he probably has "handlers" do all his gardening and dirty work down to taking out his trash.

I must say there's a brief bit of yummy within all the over dramatic violence. A Chap named Jsu Garcia. He's el Lobo's top officer, Roman. MEOW! I'd gladly dress up in fatigues and roll around in the jungle for that fellow. Heck, I'd even skip a day of bathing! Slurp-o-rama.

El Lobo's wife, Selena, is played by mega-beautiful Francesca Neri. You'll probably be seeing more of her...More serious things. Lucky you!

Elias Koteas plays CIA agent Peter Brandt. A slithering man willing to sacrifice a hunky fireman if need be...He was almost scarier than el Lobo!

Bottom line? If you love Arnie go see this as soon as possible. I mean how can you resist? For those who without total recall of his finer action films, wait till video.

Snack recommendation: Plantains and rice.

Blunt aside: Collateral Damage did have the most nauseating scene I've seen on film to date. It involves a two-foot snake, and one poor sonovabitch jungle henchman of el Lobo's who made a bad judgment call. El Lobo tortures this man by prying his mouth open with some hideous apparatus then "slips" a live snake down the man's throat until, well…oh, I'm gonna spew…

Arnold's Official Site is awsome...enjoy!

 

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