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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Collateral Damage (2002)



Reviews and Comments

This is a surprisingly entertaining Arnold action flick. Filmed before September 11, 2001, and released well after, it deals with terrorism on American soil. Sensitivity to terrorist activity changed drastically since the movie was made, and it is interesting to see the moments that just don't ring true to post 9/11/01 audiences. A scene in which a senator strongly argues to acquiesce to the terrorists' demands, for example, is altogether unconvincing. All the same, the subject matter is thoughtfully handled by director Andrew Davis, who explores where the line is drawn between terrorism and justice.

But this subtext is merely that: Collateral Damage is an escapist action flick at its heart. On that level, it works, particularly with some nice twists and fine supporting performances. Schwarzenegger plays a believable character in a usually plausible if unlikely story, save periodic moments that are so hard to swallow that they induce groans. Mostly these are ordinary staples of action films: people emerge from explosions unsinged, dodge machine gun fire, and so on. Add a half star if this won't bother you. For the rest of us, well, as I say, it's at least usually convincing.