Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Collateral Damage

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Mild for an R-rated movie
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Extreme peril and violence, many characters killed, graphic torture scene
Diversity Issues:There have been protests about the portrayal of Colombians
Movie Release Date:2002

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Gordy, a fireman whose wife and son are killed when a bomb goes off in a terrorist attack. As he becomes convinced that the government will not do anything to bring justice to the man responsible, a Colombian nicknamed “The Wolf,” Gordon decides to get justice for himself, by finding The Wolf and killing him.

The original release of this movie was delayed following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It may still be too soon – in fact, it may never be possible to be as casual about fictional terrorism again. The movie is too close to reality to be able to enjoy it as pure entertainment and too far from reality to be able to get any feeling of satisfaction from it.

It is very formulaic. Arnold is told of the insurmountable obstacles. He surmounts them. Finally, he arrives in the secret lair of the bad guy. We see how bad a guy the bad guy really is, to make us feel even better about what lies ahead of him. Arnold is very clever and utterly unstoppable. Many explosions later, we get to what comes as close as possible to a happy ending.

The best parts of the movie are the brief appearances by John Turturro as a Canadian mechanic and John Leguizamo as a charming cocaine producer. The decision not to allow Gordon to carry a weapon provides for some moments of creativity in the plot. But Arnold is getting too old for this kind of thing, and, given our recent experiences, audiences may feel that they are, too.

Parents should know that the movie is very violent, with extreme peril. Many characters are killed, including a child. A character is killed by having a poisonous snake forced down his throat. A character’s ear is bitten off and spit out. The movie has strong language, and references to drug trade. The jitters of a character who appears to have had an overdose of cocaine are supposed to be funny.

The movie tries to make a connection between Gordon and The Wolf. Both are formerly gentle and loving men who became killers after losing children. The Wolf even asks Gordon how they are different. Gordon replies, “Because I am just going to kill you.” Families who see this movie should talk about the impulse for revenge and how to determine the best way to respond to terrorism. Were any of The Wolf’s claims legitimate, even if his tactics were not? Do all conflicts create “collateral damage?”

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the best of this genre, including Die Hard and Under Siege.



Previous Posts

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?
Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don't seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, and see if you can think of one quotable line from any of them. That doesn't mean they aren't well wri

posted 3:58:57pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey
You don't have to be a fan of "Downton Abbey" (or "Mr. Selfridge") to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ryo7fqdmcGQ?rel=0" frameborder="0"] [

posted 1:43:50pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Ask Amy Says: A Book on Every Bed
I love to remind people about Amy Dickinson's wonderful "Book on Every Bed" proposal: Here’s how it happens: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own childhood). You wrap it. On Christmas Eve (or whatever holiday you celebrate), you leave the book in a place where Santa is

posted 12:00:42pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Matthew Llewellyn, Composer for Wally Lamb's "Wishin' and Hopin'"
Wishin' and Hopin' is Lifetime movie airing December 21, 2014, based on the novel by Wally Lamb. It stars Molly Ringwald and Meat Loaf with narration by Chevy Chase. Composer Matthew Llewellyn was kind enough to answer my questions about creating a score for this nostalgic holiday story. How d

posted 9:40:56am Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Wild's Cheryl Strayed Has a New Advice Podcast
Before Wild, Cheryl Strayed was the pseudonymous "Dear Sugar" advice columnist for The Rumpus. Her columns were collected in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Writer Steve Almond (Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America) also wrote as Dear Su

posted 3:59:40pm Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.