From the director of The Fugitive comes Collateral Damage, an action thriller from 2002 starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a fireman who is out for revenge after his family is killed by terrorists.
The film was a flop at the box-office and that's not too surprising seeing as it was released only under a year after 9/11 and it's unlikely that everyone was already in the mood for this kind of movie. That said, this was a very decent, action-packed flick with an Arnold Schwarzenegger on top form. After the underwhelming (and very wacky) The 6th Day, Collateral Damage was a welcome return to good old-fashioned over-the-top action films, even if audiences hardly flocked to it and critics didn't exactly praise it. Apart from a few dodgy CGI effects, the film looks great and it's just good to see Arnie going around punching people in the face, throwing people off cliffs, setting fire to everything and bursting into rooms shouting and wielding a baseball bat.
There's not much more to this film except for a clever twist near the end but it's an enjoyable, straight-forward ride with a great supporting cast which includes John Turturro, Elias Koteas and John Leguizamo. Schwarzenegger himself delivers a genuinely solid, convincing performance, even if he does slip in a goofy one-liner in there and plays the most "MacGuyver" of all the firemen. The film isn't too shy to include a massive explosion in almost every scene or kill off major characters, which keeps things entertaining throughout. It's not too clear what the film is trying to say about the state of the world at that point, it's likely even the film itself doesn't know, but it doesn't need to: its goal was to be a punchy, mostly brainless actioner and it did that well.
Collateral Damage might not make most people's Top 5 when thinking about the best Arnold Schwarzenegger films around but, as an action thriller, it's silly and energetic enough to get the job done. This is a good old-fashioned action movie with a bittersweet modern edge.