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Movie Review

How quickly things can change. One minute a guy is saving lives as a public servant, the next he’s avenging the senseless murder of his wife and young child. No, it isn’t Max Payne: The Movie. It’s Collateral Damage, the story of L.A. fireman Gordy Brewer (Schwarzenegger) who, after seeing his family die in a terrorist bombing, hunts down the Colombian guerrilla responsible.

"Since Sept. 11," says producer Steven Reuther, "'collateral damage' is a term we’ve all had to digest. The journey Gordon Brewer takes in this film has become more understandable for everyone." It may hit a little too close to home for some viewers. Despite having its release delayed four months, the movie is stirring emotions and creating controversy. Colombians are upset that they are unfairly stereotyped. Others believe making the hero a vengeful fireman is a slap in the face to the real hook-and-ladder heroes of 9/11.

Chances are, families won’t be nearly as disturbed by symbolism and subtext as with the language and brutality that earned Collateral Damage its R rating. A huge body count finds people strafed with machine-gun fire, shot at close range and blown to smithereens. A woman’s neck is snapped. A guy has a live snake forced down his throat. Another loses an ear in a scene that would make Evander Holyfield cringe. And don’t expect the most evil characters to die the first time.

This film mourns the loss of innocent life, but takes great pleasure in administering payback as it reduces complex political affairs to a two-hour potboiler.


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