It’s a terrible thing seeing your wife and son blown to pieces, especially for a man who’s smiling and waving just as the bombs go off. It’s a ridiculous setup, shamefully sans ludicrous signifiers for joy: cotton candy, balloons and skipping girls. Crazy Colombian terrorist Claudio “El Lobo” Perrini (Cliff Curtis) asks, “Sangre o libertad?” They call it collateral damage: you kill our people, we kill your people. Bin Laden ascribes to the same mantra but Andrew Davis’s Collateral Damage is entirely too dumb to show interest in condemning American aggression or treating terrorism as anything other than a fireworks factory. This eye-for-an-eye procedural is all about getting firefighter Gordon Brewer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in and out of Columbia with Perrini’s head on a platter. “You cannot take the law into your own hands,” says the naïve F.B.I. agent. Oh but he can. Ten minutes later, Brewer has penetrated Columbia and sets his sights on guerilla territory. Schwarzenegger’s Brewer, referred to as a “German sausage” and “sauerkraut” on two separate occasions, goes baloney for Selena, a Columbian mamacita so white you’d swear it was Michelle Pfeiffer doing pro bono work. For added irony, Selena gallivants around town with a deaf Columbian kid. Hellbent on preventing another mother/son blowout session, Brewer gets comfy with Selena just after schmoozing his way into Perrini territory with the help of John Lequizamo’s campesino rapper. Typical of Hollywood terrorist schlock, there are equal measures of spurious, paperback discourse and unique torture mechanisms.
It's far easier to notice the flaws in a video transfer when a film's director isn't a strong visualist. Warner Home Video presents Collateral Damage in its original 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Blacks are solid and grain is surprisingly low during most night sequences though skin tones are a bit chalky throughout. It's a rock solid transfer overall despite the lifeless quality of Adam Greenberg's cinematography. Fidelity is great on the Dolby Digital English 5.1 Surround track, especially when Schwarzenegger starts blowing things up.
Who knew director Andrew Davis was this boring? The problem with Davis's commentary track is that he takes Collateral Damage entirely too serious for what's little more than an action spectacle. Most curiously, Davis ruminates on the hardships of working parents before Schwarzenegger's fireman protagonist sees his wife and son get blown to pieces. Also included here are six deleted scenes (mostly alternate or extended versions of existing scenes), a behind-the-scenes featurette clearly edited from the film's press junket interview, the film's theatrical trailer and a "Hero in a New Era" featurette that trivially explores the significance of Collateral Damage after 9/11.
Don't bother with this one unless you haven't seen the same film repackaged as Bad Company and The Sum of all Fears.