starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Elias Koteas, Francesca Neri, Cliff Curtis
screenplay by David Griffiths & Peter Griffiths
directed by Andrew Davis
by Walter Chaw There is an inexplicable instinct in Hollywood to cast Arnold Schwarzenegger as an everyman when the Austrian Oak has only ever played a pre-Christian barbarian and post-apocalyptic robot convincingly. Perhaps sensing something awry in Arnold playing a mild-mannered Irish fireman named Gordon Brewer, the creators of Collateral Damage have made an effort to portray Schwarzenegger's character as a comic book superhero--maybe one named "Fire Man." Brewer irrationally favours the tools of his life-saving trade (a pair of axes and a serendipitously placed sliding pole) over the far more plentiful (and practical) guns, while a cleverly donned white Panama Hat (making Arnie look a little like Leon Redbone crossed with a bratwurst) somehow successfully disguises the 6'2" goliath from seeking eyes. A pulp caped crusader comic would at least have the decency to be lurid and exciting, though--all Collateral Damage manages to be is shatteringly dull.