On Tuesday night, the Cinematic Arts Commission showed a sneak preview of what is supposed to be ‘Ahnuld’s’ comeback film, Collateral Damage. The term “collateral damage” is used to describe innocent bystanders who are killed or wounded in military or terrorist action. It makes prefect sense then to make this the title of the film, since there are innocent bystanders that are wounded: members of the audience.
First off, the story. The former Mr. Universe plays Gordon Brewer, L.A. fire captain, loving father and devoted husband. His life gets ripped a new one when his family gets blown up in a building, courtesy of “The Wolf,” one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists. Frustrated with the lack of progress the authorities are making, Brewer decides to go after the man himself, a manhunt that leads him to South America where more stuff explodes.
Along the way he meets two Johns: Leguizamo and Turturro, both of them secretly asking each other: “Why are we in this movie again? Oh yeah, money.” There’s really nothing that stands out here; the actors do their job in trying not to laugh at Arnold when he tries to be serious. Director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive) does an even-handed job, and the script, well, it’s there. But you won’t see any of this, because there are tons of explosions to hide the fact that this movie isn’t a movie; it’s crap. Suffice it to say, from what was shown on the screen, it doesn’t look like Mr. Maria Shriver will be as big as he used to be back in the 1980s.
Ah, the 1980s. When Arnold why-can’t-I-have-a-decent-last-name made action movies that were stupid, yet entertaining to watch. Now he just makes action movies that are stupid. A big reason for that is that in all his good films, he played people that were larger than life: cyborgs, a CIA agent, a gov’t assassin, etc. Now he tries to play ordinary guys that find themselves in unbelievable circumstances, which he is not cut out to do. Why else did End of Days and The Sixth Day end up in the garbage? If people think that this movie will be anything close to those action flicks, forget it. One would rather go rent Hercules in New York than go out and watch this drivel.
No, unfortunately there are no dread-locked aliens chasing Arnold through the jungle, and he’s not hunting down Sarah Connor in this waste. He’s not even trying to avoid getting repeatedly kicked in the groin by Sharon Stone. Arnold, a word of advice: You can’t be what you once were, you can’t even make a decent film anymore. Stop trying. Light up a cigar, kick back and laugh at how Hollywood kept paying you millions of dollars to do nothing, and reminisce about the days when Robert Patrick chased you down the streets of L.A. with a mack truck. Just please, for the love of God and everything that’s holy, don’t make any more movies.
Collateral Damage: rated R. Featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Leguizamo,John Turturro, Elias Koteas and Francesca Neri.