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

Interview: Bo Svenson
Bo Svenson is an actor, writer, director, judo champion, and, as I was lucky enough to find out, an enthralling guy to talk to, turning an interview into a wide-ranging conversation. Svenson was

posted 3:59:35pm Aug. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Tribute: Don Pardo
Don Pardo's face was not familiar.  But his voice was instantly recognizable.  We mourn the loss of one of the great announcers in broadcast history, who died on Monday at age 96. The cast of "Saturday Night Live," where he served as announcer from the beginning, celebrated his 90th birthday.

posted 12:44:03pm Aug. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Gayle Forman of "If I Stay"
Gayle Forman is the author of If I Stay, the source for this week's movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia, a talented young cellist in a coma following a car accident.  As she hovers between life and death, she remembers incidents from her life with her family and with her rock musician boyfrie

posted 8:00:16am Aug. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Popcorn Update....Maybe
Remember when I explained how movie theater lobbyists created a loophole in the rules requiring places that serve food to let you know the calories and fat content of your purchase

posted 3:49:14pm Aug. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Home is Where the Heart is
We are delighted to have an exclusive clip from the warm-hearted family film, Home Is Where the Heart Is -- and even more delighted to have two copies to give away. [bcvideo vid='3708089442001' pid='96582452001' height='410' width='480'] “Trophy Wife’s” Bailee Madison, Laura Bell Bundy (

posted 7:00:56am Aug. 18, 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.