Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Film Review: Collateral Damage (2002)

Collateral Damage (Review)
United States/2002
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...its action is more than enough to warrant a rental or stream."

When his wife and son are killed in a terrorist attack, Los Angeles firefighter Gordon Brewer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) hunts down the person responsible...

Collateral Damage is a fairly straightforward plot. The film starts almost immediately with the terrorist attack that kills Brewer's wife and son. In turn, this leaves little time for effective character and relationship development. Then, the film gets into the politics of the search. Since the government won't search for the terrorist responsible, Brewer decides to take it into his own hands. So, he heads to Colombia, where El Lobo – the terrorist responsible – is hiding, and begins his vengeance. The climax isn't half-bad, but the ending was a little cheesy.

All-in-all, Collateral Damage isn't half-bad. It's actually quite decent. It is contrived and predictable, but it's not necessarily bad – it's far from the worst I've watched. The little character development in the beginning is very disappointing, though. We really don't get to see Brewer with his family, except for a single conversation, which makes this hunt for vengeance feel less emotional and less evocative. However, the film works well as an action blockbuster. There are some solid chase scenes, some decent shootouts, and plenty of explosions. Although the film felt a little on the lengthy side, there's not a lot of boredom to be found here.

Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers a decent performance as Brewer; although he's still a little wooden, this is probably one of his more effective performances. Francesca Neri was a little off, though, she seemed more wooden than Schwarzenegger at times. Otherwise, the film is a fairly average blockbuster. Nothing really stands out as terrible or excellent, simply decent or average. The special effects, such as some of the explosions and fire, look dated, though. Director Andrew Davis fails to create an emotional connection with the audience, but the action was strong, the flow was decent, and the story was enough to keep my interest.

Overall, Collateral Damage is a good action film. The story is contrived and predictable, but it's otherwise an attention-holder – it doesn't delve too deeply into the politics, and it doesn't have to. If you're looking for action, there are plenty of chase scenes, fist fights, shootouts, and explosions. It's not much of a story, but its action is more than enough to warrant a rental or stream.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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