Arnold Schwarzenegger ends the war on drugs and starts the war on terror in this largely forgotten effort from 2002, in which a firefighter (Schwarzenegger) uses his CIA connections (?) to personally hunt down the Colombian terrorist (Cliff Curtis) who killed his family.
Arnie blames this film’s failure on 9/11, and while it does suffer from heavy edits (Sofía Vergara was cut entirely) Collateral Damage is simply a weak story badly told. The movie is so generic and forgettable that it’s easier to describe what it doesn’t have: there are no Arnie quotes, very few unintentionally funny moments and he doesn’t even fire a gun, something wild horses and kindergarten children can’t stop him from doing. Why am I watching this if not to see Schwarzenegger shoot people? More to the point, why is he in it?
Maybe he wanted another lead action role without having to do any work, since he mostly just wanders around Colombia looking like a Pez dispenser and doing more collateral damage to his own film career than anything else. Andrew Davis’ (The Fugitive) direction is incoherent and flat, with the visual quality of an imported TV show from the ’90s. Even the sound is poorly mixed, making the dialogue harder to comprehend than most Arnie movies.
The overly serious tone and lack of action make for a tedious viewing experience, but at least 9/11 made it slightly shorter.