Collateral Damage
dir. Andrew Davis
Now playing at various theaters.

The new Arnold Schwarzenegger film starts off in a familiar way: Bad guys want to hurt America, and good guys want to save it. The bad guys blow up a building, killing Arnold's wife and son. He screams for retribution and charges into righteousness. He turns into Ahh-nold.

But that's when the movie veers off course. The big man wants revenge, but seems weary. He breaks people's necks and fires off large handheld missiles, but looks disgusted with himself. And then it hits him: This whole God-and-Country thing is bullshit. "Where are the terrorists?!" he screams at a CIA operative deep in the Columbian jungle, as an entire village goes up in flames. "These are all women and children! Children!"

Everyone tries to reason with him--the FBI, the CIA, the bad guys--but they get nowhere with the new anti-war, we-are-the-world Arnold.

The press has focused on how weird it is to release a movie about terrorism so soon after September 11, and there are some moments that have an uncanny overlap with reality. But what makes Collateral Damage truly weird is watching Arnold Schwarzenegger grow completely sick of the bloodlust which used to make him whole. It also makes the film worth seeing.

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