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Collateral Damage 426

Posted by JonKatz
from the post-9/11-action-movie dept.
The post-9/11 action/terrorism movie is now a genre all of its own. If this movie is interesting at all, it's through the prism of September 11, a day that changed culture as much as it did politics. Our perceptions of Black Hawk Down, Behind Enemy Lines, and now, Arnold Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage are shaped - nearly haunted - by the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks and the subsequent military operations in Afghanistan. Some movies - Black Hawk Down - are greatly enhanced by 9/11. Because it was true and well done, it hits us between the eyes. But for poor aging action-pioneer Schwarzenegger, whose movie was postponed for three months by his nervous studio, the opposite is true. This movie comes from another time, not enlivened by reality but diminished by it. Spoilage warning: plot discussed, not ending.

The plot is vintage Arnold. He plays firefighter Gordon Brewer, who is drawn into international terrorism when his wife and son are blown up in a bombing carried out by Claudio ("The Wolf") Perrini. In pre-9/11 movies, the U.S. is nearly as evil as the terrorists, as the perennial bumbling evil C.I.A./NSA secret agents do absolutely anything at all costs by any means to get their way -- just like the terrorists. At the moment, that plot line seems a dubious one. When Brewer figures out that the ever politically squishy U.S. government isn't going to catch the Wolf (to avoid ruffling the feathers of the Columbian government), he decides to do it himself, tracking the Wolf through Panama to the dense jungles of Columbia, where he spends as much time dodging evil U.S. agents as he does hiding from evil Columbian guerrillas.

The movie is full of the now vintage Schwarzeneggerian repertoire of narrow-eyed stares and clunky one liners and explosion after explosion. And let's face it, Arnold is no action adventure spring chicken. His face is lined, his visage distinctly middle-aged. We see him in relatively few action sequences, and he is undoubtedly keeping platoons of stunt men working, judging from the credits.

Watching the film, you can't help but identify with the helplessness of a man who sees his family blown to bits for no particular reason by murderous fanatics who use high-blown rhetoric to justify their butchery. I suppose there are lots of people who wish they could get their hands on Osama Bin Laden's throat.

What makes Black Hawk Down so jarring and effective a film is that it's about a real story. U.S. soldiers really did find themselves in a horrific shoot-out in Somalia, and really did behave heroically under awful pressure. These same soldiers are now crawling around the hills of Afghanistan, their cause clear and powerful. That movie is thus a terrific salute to ordinary people who have to take a deep measure of themselves in extraordinary situations.

But Schwarzenegger's clunky ham-handedness is diminished, not enhanced by reality. The movie is too long, the ending loopy. What was once an entertaining Hollywood cartoon figure now just seems a dinosaur, his sensibility outdated and irrelevant. Schwarzenegger has made some first-rate action stuff. His Terminator series was great (he's making another). He ought to ride off into the sunset while he still has his dignity and pride, and acknowledge that while he had a great ride, the reality of the world has finally overtaken him.

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Collateral Damage

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  • Hasn't Arnold about had it with these types of movies? I mean, can his heart take much more?
    • ...or even Cardiac [dictionary.com].

    • Re:Cartiac Damage? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by vreeker (264162)
      He enjoys these movies for the same reason programmers enjoy reusing code from earlier projects... less work and *generally* equal result. If you got millions of dollars to say the same lines over and over again from movie to movie wouldn't you continue?
    • Schwarzenegger has made some first-rate action stuff. His Terminator series was great (he's making another).

      Gee whiz, thanks for the news flash, Jon! The rest of the world has known for the last year or so that Terminator 3 is in development and production.

      I used to think the Katz-bashing was overreaction, but I've come to realize his columns really are so much hot air, with no original insights.

      He reminds me of Jackie Harvey [theonion.com], the Onion's Hollywood columnist...
  • I reckon (Score:2, Funny)

    by G-funk (22712)
    If you read the last 2 paragraphs, replace Arnold Schwarzenegger with John Katz it makes a bit more sense.
  • 9/11 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 10, 2002 @12:05PM (#2982316)
    Looks like "9/11" has usurped "Columbine" as Katz's phrase of choice to prepend to "post-".
    • Re:9/11 (Score:4, Insightful)

      by psamuels (64397) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @04:36PM (#2983397) Homepage
      Looks like "9/11" has usurped "Columbine" as Katz's phrase of choice to prepend to "post-".

      So that's why he kept misspelling Colombia as "Columbia". He's still thinking "Columbine".

      (Actually, I read a local review of Collateral whose reviewer did the same thing - I guess it's just a common mistake by the semi-literate.)

      • by Grab (126025)
        Or maybe this is actually the British Columbia Freedom Fighters Front for the Liberation of the Trees? "Blame Canada"... ;-)

        Grab.
  • by Brento (26177) <brento@NoSpAm.brentozar.com> on Sunday February 10, 2002 @12:08PM (#2982330) Homepage
    He ought to ride off into the sunset while he still has his dignity and pride, and acknowledge that while he had a great ride, the reality of the world has finally overtaken him.

    Psst - hey Jon - I think right here is where I say something about the pot calling the kettle black.
  • so? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DickPhallus (472621) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @12:10PM (#2982335)
    Schwarzeneggerian repertoire of narrow-eyed stares and clunky one liners and explosion after explosion


    This is exactly what I want to see when I go to a movie like this. A lot of testosterone based action! Anyone looking for some sort of deep statement regarding the "post-9/11" world is looking in the wrong place.

    Ever hear of the difference between "film" and "movie" katz?

    • by Spuggy (69103)
      Good point, it is far too quick to expect any deep and meaningful releases based on the 9/11 attacks (both psychologically--would be offensive to victims this quick, and pyhsically--if someone is working on something that is going to be that great, it's going to take longer than 5 months to do).

      If you're looking for non-action and more of a documentary isn't looking for it in the movie theater, but on CNN, A&E, or The History Channel (The Special on the World Trade Center released in the weeks after 9/11 on The History Channel was an excellent documentary--it was made before 9/11, but had added commentary where the commercials would normally go)

      And yeah, right now any US Military Movie is going to do fantastic considering the Patriotism/Natoinalism abundant in the US right now--the same reason Bush has an 85% approval rating right now; you think he would even be over 60% or even 50% at this point in his term without the 9/11 disasters, when even the most popular presidents in our history were lucky to have 55% after their first year? (This is not an attack or support of him, that's for another discussion altogether)

      The same has been true after any successful military campaign. Fickle to say, but it'll die off--it might take a few more years, but soon enough there will be another government scandal or more Enron fiascos to bring to light the negatives of the country once again. And then the normal military movies' popularity will die down and a 9/11 movie will be worthwhile and popular--if nothing else to remember and mourn.

      [OT] This was and is the defining moment of the 15-30 year old generation. It is the first truly remarkable event that impacted so many that has happened in years (aside from various government scandals of course). And yes, we had the Gulf War, but for the most part, that was a campaign in which we measured American casualties in the 100's, not thousands.
      [/OT]
  • This is a big coincidence? Arnie made a movie with a plot?

    That spoils it for me on its own.

  • he's just in it - making a buck.

    this article [salon.com] at salon.com sheds some like on arnolds perspective, and his relationship to the movie.

    im no huge arnold fan - but katz shouldnt dump on arnold for being *in* a movie

    whats the directors name katz? who did the casting? did you know harrison ford was supposed to play the part?
    • Exactly... and I wouldn't feel bad for paying $4.50 on tuesday night to go see this movie, because it would probably entertain me for a couple of hours.

      Would you expect Katz to know any of the stuff you mentioned? No, because that would require all of 5 minutes of research! Shessh... don't ask too much of the man!
  • Was I the only person who saw previews for this movie before September 11? It's easy to say retrospectively that this had its roots in September 11, but movies take a long time to write, film, and edit- unless you're suggesting that Hollywood was in on the plot.
    • by dougmc (70836)
      No, you're not the only one.

      If I recall correctly, the movie was set to be released not very long after September 11th -- meaning it was very nearly done, if not completely done. Then September 11th came, and they decided to delay it. I don't know if it changed very much in that period ...

      • "I don't know if it changed very much in that period..."

        amazingly enough, it did not change at all. not one second (supposedly).
    • i do remember seeing some trailers on tv several weeks before 9/11, and i thought it was kind of strange how after 9/11, the movie seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. no on even mentioned that it was being pushed back that i ever heard. this movie was made without any influence of 9/11.

      i've also noticed several people pointing out that 'gee, aren't there a lot of war movies coming out right now? it's all because of september 11th'. no it's not! i don't think some people know how long it takes to make a movie. you could easily spend weeks making a 5 minute short, so how long do you think a 2 hour movie takes?

      oy ve
  • by DavidBrown (177261) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @12:19PM (#2982371) Journal
    I remember watching his movie Commando, where he rips a seat out of a small convertible so he can hide while this woman drives the car. Then, she gets run off the road and plants the car right into a telephone pole. Arnold gets up, asks her if she's OK, and she is. Cheesy to the extreme.

    There's also a scene where he kills a terrorist by throwing a circular saw blade into his head, like a frisbee. Cheesy.

    Arnold movies (the best was still Conan, or maybe Kindergarten Cop) were always most watchable to those persons with very powerful disbelief suspensors. Mine are getting worn out, so I'm going to pass on this movie. That's the reason I won't watch it - not September 11th.

  • Another diaapointing story from the greatest nerd of them all.. 'Stuff from JonKatz, It doesn't matter'
  • Anyone seen this since September 11th?
    • by sparkyz (256676)
      I heard that. Great reference and entirely appropriate. Even more so would be "The Siege". Denzel, as relatively few others, can really make you forget he's Denzel and in the context of the film leave you well acquainted with the character rather than the actor.

      I don't think the makers of "The Siege" or "Enemy of the State" were uniquely prescient exactly; but a couple films that were written off by some as paranoid, almost counter-culture phenomenon are truly high art after the fact.
  • "Because it was true and well done, it hits us between the eyes."

    True? Hmmm... 'Inspired by a real events' or 'based on a true story' would be more accurate. It's not exactly a documentary, is it?

    Sometimes JonKatz articles resemble an advanced form of trolling. Damn, fell for it.

  • Black Hawk Down (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SmileyBen (56580)
    Black Hawk Down 'true and well done'? Well, yes, September 11th does seem to have changed people's views of films! Before then, we might have dreamed that Americans would notice that THE REST OF THE WORLD realises that Black Hawk Down was ridiculous, fake, American-enhancing crap, glorifying effectively the fallout of an American massacre - now we realise that everyone else's perspective will be ignored...
    • Re:Black Hawk Down (Score:4, Informative)

      by BobSoros (544035) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @12:34PM (#2982430) Homepage
      uhm, back up a second .. are you implying that Blackhawk Down was based on fictional events ? Thats what its sure sounds like, if not you seem to be making the suggestion the events were grossly exaggerated. Well Smiley Ben, why dont you send an email or two to the soldiers (yes they are available) that were involved in that political debacle. There were two interviews with the soldiers before the movie was made and the contents of the movie clearly reflect what they gave witness to.

      • Minus, of course, the one who anally raped his 12 year old daughter and is serving 30 years in jail.
      • The accounts of Somalian people also "involved" should also be read. And maybe the accounts of historians, UN investigators and journalists?

        "Black Hawk Down" is a propaganda film, based on real events in which real people died for stupid reasons. A real tragedy occurred, but the film only shows a distorted view of what actually happened, and a very distorted view of why it happened.

        How much time does the film give to the massacre of 54 people by US forces during a peace discussion? Or the firing of missiles into civilian areas by the US?

        Maybe you should read what the rest of the world can read, in articles like this:

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273 ,4 344998,00.html

        and rely less on semi-official propaganda. Do you think "Zulu" and cowboy movies are accurate? They're based on true events too, you know.

        • Please read this [slashdot.org], as well as this [slashdot.org]. Besides the fact that you're completely offtopic (and if I hadn't used my moderator points yesterday, you'd be going _down_), AND the fact that you should have been spouting your anti-US hate when Katz reviewed BHD, your arguments are wrong, wrong, wrong. Cheers.
      • No, he is implying that Blackhawk Down was based on how Americans (esp. the military) want to see the facts. At least that's what it sounds like to me - but then I'm not American, and we know that Americans want to see things the way they would like them to be, so that's probably why you read his post that way.
        • Don't overgeneralize. There are plenty of Americans who know how the world works, and are as frustrated as the rest of the world over the actions of our government.
      • Re:Black Hawk Down (Score:5, Interesting)

        by lblack (124294) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @01:21PM (#2982591)
        The United States was repeatedly cautioned by other nations to not involve themselves in Somali affairs, as they were a mish-mash of various warlords each having armed forces and all being about as sane as a bucket of loons on a Sunday.

        The United States, however, being pricked repeatedly by one particular of these warlords, decided that they, being smarter and stronger than the nations who warned them, would take care of this pesky warlord.

        Their execution of this plan was fatally flawed. The soldiers were not familiar with the methods of fighting employed by the locals. They did not know how to act effectively when a crowd of civilians acted as shields for the militants. Basically, the entire effort receded into a "Cover each other and back the hell up" scenario, which just barely managed to get the bulk of US Soldiers out alive.

        Heroism? Where? What was heroic? Bad orders came down based on bad policy, executed by ill-prepared soldiers. Is it heroic to survive?

        I would gladly send an e-mail to the soldiers involved. Particuarly John Stebbins (name changed to John Grimes for the movie). Ewan MacGregor's character -- You know him? The one who failed in attempting to join the regular forces three times during the Gulf War, before somehow being permitted to join the Rangers? Unfortunately, he probably isn't too easy to get ahold of [nypost.com] these days.

        The movie was grossly exaggerated and removed from any meaningful context. As a result, it cannot be called "truth". It is entertainment, not a historical document.

        -l

    • There was an article somewhere that discussed a pirate version of BHD making it into MOG. The opinion of the Somalis was that it accurately protrayed the events of those 2 days. If anything the movie minimized the extent that the millitia was using women and childeren as shields, ( ie laying prone on the ground with a wife on eiter side and two kids sitting on your back.
    • Dammit. I wish foreign directors would quit making movies that are "ridiculous, fake, American-enhancing crap" so that everyone would get off our back!
  • Does anyone else feel the term 'Collateral Damage' is quite disgusting regardless of who uses it? Human life is human life.
    • To the terrorists in this movie anything that got destroyed that was not a specific target is collateral damage. However, to the hero it wasn't collateral damage, it was his family.

      I think it actually a fairly good title. It has a subtle subtext that some people might not catch.

    • That's supposed to be the idea. The terrorists called the deaths of Schwarzenegger's character's family "collateral damage", and it disgusts him.
  • by The Original Bobski (52567) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @12:30PM (#2982418) Homepage Journal
    ...just because Katz can't figure out it was made before 9/11. Yes, it may seem lame after the event but it was made before the event while we all slumbered peacefully in our false sense of security. Including you, Katz.

    To hold a pre 9/11 movie to post 9/11 standards is just plain stupid.

    Should it have been released? That's up to the viewer to decide. As far as the studio's concerned it was a business decision. "Do we not release it and lose our investment, or release it and, maybe, recoup some of our money?" Business, plain and simple.

    I haven't seen the movie, and I probably won't. The whole premise is as lame a Katz presents it. It's not because the movie is out of touch for it's time, but because we are the ones who are no longer in touch with that genre.
  • plot?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BigBir3d (454486)
    "the plot is vintage Arnold..."

    uh, he is a firefighter this time, not a cop or android thing...
  • by syusuf (91554)
    According to the myth, the Somalia operation of 1993 was a humanitarian mission, and a shining example of New World Order morality and altruism. In fact, US and UN troops waged an undeclared war against an Islamic African populace that was hostile to foreign interests.

    Also contrary to the legend, the 1993 Somalia raid was not a "Clinton foreign policy bungle." In fact, the incoming Clinton administration inherited an operation that was already in full swing -- planned and begun by outgoing President George Herbert Walker Bush, spearheaded by deputy national security adviser Jonathan Howe (who remained in charge of the UN operation after Clinton took office), and approved by Colin Powell, then head of the Joint Chiefs.

    The operation had nothing to do with humanitarianism or Africa-love on the part of Bush or Clinton. Several US oil companies, including Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips were positioned to exploit Somalia's rich oil reserves. The companies had secured billion-dollar concessions to explore and drill large portions of the Somali countryside during the reign of pro-US President Mohamed Siad Barre. (In fact, Conoco's Mogadishu office housed the US embassy and military headquarters.) A "secure" Somalia also provided the West with strategic location on the coast of Arabian Sea.

    UN military became necessary when Barre was overthrown by warlord Mohammed Farrah Aidid, suddenly rendering Somalia inhospitable to US corporate interests.

    Although the pretext for the mission was to safeguard food shipments, and stop the "evil Aidid" from stealing the food, the true UN goal was to remove Aidid from the political equation, and form a pro-Western coalition government out of the nation's warring clans. The US operation was met with "surprisingly fierce resistance" -- surprising to US officials who underestimated Somalian resolve, and even more surprising to US troops who were victims and pawns of UN policy makers.

    The highly documented series by Mark Bowden of the Philadelphia Inquirer on which the film is based , focuses on the participants, and the "untenable" situation in which troops were placed. But even Bowden's gung-ho account makes no bones about provocative American attacks that ultimately led to the decisive defeat in Mogadishu.

    Bowden writes: "Task Force Ranger was not in Mogadishu to feed the hungry. Over six weeks, from late August to Oct. 3, it conducted six missions, raiding locations where either Aidid or his lieutenants were believed to be meeting. The mission that resulted in the Battle of Mogadishu came less than three months after a surprise missile attack by U.S. helicopters (acting on behalf of the UN) on a meeting of Aidid clansmen. Prompted by a Somalian ambush on June 5 that killed more than 20 Pakistani soldiers, the missile attack killed 50 to 70 clan elders and intellectuals, many of them moderates seeking to reach a peaceful settlement with the United Nations. After that July 12 helicopter attack, Aidid's clan was officially at war with America -- a fact many Americans never realized."

    Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Somalis were killed in the course of US incursions that took place over three months. In his book The New Military Humanism, Noam Chomsky cites other under-reported facts. "In October 1993, criminal incompetence by the US military led to the slaughter of 1,000 Somalis by American firepower." Chomsky writes. "The official estimate was 6-10,000 Somali casualties in the summer of 1993 alone, two-thirds women and children. Marine Lt. Gen. Anthony Zinni, who commanded the operation, informed the press that 'I'm not counting bodies . . . I'm not interested.' Specific war crimes of US forces included direct military attacks on a hospital and on civilian gatherings. Other Western armies were implicated in serious crimes as well. Some of these were revealed at an official Canadian inquiry, not duplicated by the US or other governments."

    Bowden's more forgiving account does not contradict Chomsky's in this regard:

    "Official U.S. estimates of Somalian casualties at the time numbered 350 dead and 500 injured. Somalian clan leaders made claims of more than 1,000 deaths. The United Nations placed the number of dead at ``between 300 to 500.'' Doctors and intellectuals in Mogadishu not aligned with the feuding clans say that 500 dead is probably accurate.

    The attack on Mogadishu was particularly vicious. Quoting Bowden: "The Task Force Ranger commander, Maj. Gen. William F. Garrison, testifying before the Senate, said that if his men had put any more ammunition into the city 'we would have sunk it.' Most soldiers interviewed said that through most of the fight they fired on crowds and eventually at anyone and anything they saw."

    After 18 US Special Forces soldiers were killed in the final Mogadishu firefight, which included the downing of a US helicopter, television screens filled with the scene of a dead US soldier being dragged through the streets by jubilant Somalis. Clinton immediately called off the operation. US forces left Somalia in disgrace. Some 19,000 UN troops remained for a short period, but eventually left in futility.

    The Somalia defeat elicited howls of protest and rage from the military brass, congressional hawks, and right-wing provocateurs itching for an excuse to declare political war on the "liberal" Clinton administration.

    The "Somalia syndrome" would dog Clinton throughout his presidency, and mar every military mission during his tenure.

    Today, as right-wing extremist George W. Bush occupies the White House, surrounded by his father's operatives, and many of the architects of the original raid, military fanaticism is all the rage. A global war "without end" has just begun.

    What a perfect opportunity to "clean up" the past.
  • At least this movie didn't really make it look like it was a good vs evil battle. That's what I liked about it, it wasn't as simple as the usual Arnold movies are.
  • I went to see Collateral Damage over the weekend and it was not that bad of a movie... A decent plot, and Arnold has some amazing one-liners like "I'll show you collateral damage!"

    But it's not as chilling as Enemy of the State, the Will Smith movie where his character, lawyer Robert Dean, is thrown into a whirlwind of coverup and espionage by rogue NSA agents.

    The movie argues that privacy has been invaded too much, that we need more freedom. The NSA agents say that we need more surveillance because America has many enemies and the American people don't realize it. At the time I first saw it, it sounded like alarmist propaganda. When I saw it last night, it shut me up.

  • The post-9/11 action/terrorism movie is now a genre all of its own.

    Hey, did I miss something? What happened on the 9th of Novemeber?

  • We see him in relatively few action sequences, and he is undoubtedly keeping platoons of stunt men working, judging from the credits.

    hmm... my mother always told me not to judge a book by its cover. judging a movie by its number of action sequences and ending credits seems ok though.

    In pre-9/11 movies, the U.S. is nearly as evil as the terrorists, as the perennial bumbling evil C.I.A./NSA secret agents do absolutely anything at all costs by any means to get their way -- just like the terrorists.

    if Jon could offer some insight how exactly this changed in our post-9/11 world, he should write it up in a separate series of editorials. terrorists are NOT evil because they hide in the bushes/caves, occasionally jumping out of their lair and picking on some country for no particular reason.

    Watching the film, you can't help but identify with the helplessness of a man who sees his family blown to bits for no particular reason by murderous fanatics who use high-blown rhetoric to justify their butchery.

    oh, the problem is with me here. i am what Jon would call a 'reluctant viewer'. i suppose i was wrong to think that terrorists are evil because their methods and attempts to get a nuclear/chemical/biological arsenal for the purpose of eventual retaliation are an unacceptable practice under the UN convention.

    in my post-9/11 world, i should become oblivious to obvious political causes and consequences of world terror, and watch a movie IF and ONLY IF i can identify with a middle-aged superhero lead character, and whether or not the movie is sensitive and realistic enough in light of recent events.

    These same soldiers are now crawling around the hills of Afghanistan, their cause clear and powerful.

    a much more credible writer has said 'comedy is tragedy plus time'. of course he wasn't talking about the world press, or 5,000 dead people, or soldiers bombing caves in Afganistan with smart bombs, or even about the next hollywood flick. in fact, i don't know what the hell he was talking about. but Jon's cause is clear and powerful. he is crawling with high-blown rhetoric in his hand, around the hills of bad plots and inaccurate historic accounts, into the caves of heroic soldier portrails and media coverage, to get to the heart of what is wrong with the next firefighter vs. terrorist action blockbuster...

    Arnold is no action adventure spring chicken.

    oh yeah, and something about said spring chicken not being in enhanced by reality.
  • In what way can you you possibly consider this article as either "news for nerds" or "stuff that matters"?

    This absolutely does not belong here.

    First of all, it is a review of some dumb Arnie movie. Second, it goes off on patriotic tangents which have nothing to do with either the movie being reviewed or the forum in which it is reviewed. Third, from all accounts of the actual events behind Black Hawk Down, the poster did not bother to check the facts.

    It seems like this article is more of an excuse to bring someone's political views to the public than an actual movie review.

    I just do not see why anyone would view this as appropriate material for /..

    There must be other submissions for the editors to choose from which would be vastly more appropriate for being printed as a /. article. If there are no other submissions, the editors should do themselves a favor and print nothing.

  • by mrsam (12205) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @01:04PM (#2982529) Homepage
    In the spirit of Book-A-Minute Classics [rinkworks.com], here's an alternative review of Collateral Damage. There's no need to plow through another Katz-ian monologue, when an ultra-condensed review will suffice. Here we go:


    Yes, this movie sucks. It's mostly predictable, there's nothing new here. If you came to the theater expecting something on the order of "Die Hard", or "Indiana Jones", you'd be disappointed.

    However it doesn't suck that much. It could've sucked much, much worse than it did. It was clear to me, when I sat down, that the flick is going to blow. With my expectations already lowered, the movie didn't really turn out to be that bad.

    Yes, it's the typical output of the paint-by-numbers Hollywood screenplay mill. Still, I think the movie did make a couple of valiant attempts at being original. Ahnold's, uhhh.... impression of Mike Tyson was completely unexpected. And it was funny. And it did seem, at first, that Ahnold was going to end up bedding down whatsherface. The way that character actually turned out to be was also unexpected.

    So, go and see the movie on a bargain matinee, and check your brain at the door. Or wait for it to come up on video. You could do worse. There's plenty of crap out there that's even worse than "Collateral Damage".


  • i'm getting sick of hearing arnold getting dumped on. sure hes getting older, but we have the term "middle aged" not only to point out that they arent young anymore, but also that they arent old. and so i propose this- let's just assume you're "young", 20 to 30 years old: if you can say that arnold is getting old and loosing what he's got AND THEN you yourself can honestly say you're in better shape as the 20 to 30 year old you are then he is at his age, then maybe its ok for you to dump on him. i bet not many of us would earn that right!
  • Like any journalist hack worth his ego, Katz manages to tie any major socio-political event to the most trivial of topics.

    Next week: Anthrax as a new P2P platform in the wake of Columbine. First in a series.
  • Dear Mr. Katz (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lblack (124294) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @01:31PM (#2982629)
    Dear Mr. Katz,

    While I realize that your intellectual credibility has cemented itself somewhere around "Nil", I feel obliged to note that wrapping yourself up in a flag will neither increase it nor add any other sort of credibility to your ranting.

    Please read Mr. Ebert's review [suntimes.com], which tackles the same issues as yours does (Pre/Post 9/11), but does so in a clear, concise, and intelligent manner. Do not be so eager to put on 9/11-tinted glasses in the same manner that you did Columbine-tinted glasses prior to the terrorist attack.

    Your references to Black Hawk Down betray your complete lack of familiarity with the history surrounding that mission. Please do some research before using Mogadishu in your writings. It's actually getting to be very worrisome, since so many people have on so many occasions pointed out how absolutely narrow your focus is regarding that event.

    You have managed to write a movie review without providing a review. This is a noteworthy feat but, alas, does not enrich any of your readers. Try to do better, next time.

    Re-evaluate yourself, immediately.

    Regards,
    l
  • uh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@gma ... minus herbivore> on Sunday February 10, 2002 @01:52PM (#2982736) Homepage
    The post-9/11 action/terrorism movie is now a genre all of its own.

    No it's not. There's one movie involving terrorism. And it was made well before 9/11. How is that a genre?
  • Anyone wants to tell me where "Columbia" is and who these Columbians are?. I only know of COLOMBIA and COLOMBIANS.
  • I always love to read CNN's Paul Clinton when he's slamming a movie. Some words from his evisceration of Collateral Damage:
    • stinks
    • embarrassing
    • painfully, wantonly and hauntingly horrific
    • cliche-riddled
    • absurdities
    • sappy, prefabricated, paint-by-numbers script
    Ahhhhh .... that's entertainment!
  • by DwarfGoanna (447841) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @02:36PM (#2982885)

    What makes Black Hawk Down so jarring and effective a film is that it's about a real story. U.S. soldiers really did find themselves in a horrific shoot-out in Somalia, and really did behave heroically under awful pressure. These same soldiers are now crawling around the hills of Afghanistan, their cause clear and powerful. That movie is thus a terrific salute to ordinary people who have to take a deep measure of themselves in extraordinary situations.


    Zip up your fly, Jon...your jingo is hanging out.

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger's studio was not the contributing factor. The first time Leno was back on the air, Arnold was the guest, and he said he called into the studio. In tons of promo material for this movie I have heard him say the same thing.

    Please - get it right
  • I read the post and thought to myself (before looking at the authors name) "God, what a pompus ass"! Lo and behold...
  • by Mike Hicks (244) <hick0088@tc.umn.edu> on Sunday February 10, 2002 @03:30PM (#2983110) Homepage Journal
    I haven't seen Collateral Damage, and I suppose I probably won't, but I really think you may be coming to a harsher view of it than you should. The United States has made many mistakes in the past. It's entirely inappropriate to paint the US as a white knight, always battling for good in the face of evil because it's untrue. I wish that was the case, but it's not.

    Theodore Roosevelt once stated that he believed it was treasonous to not criticize the actions of the President. The public should be trying to hold the government to the highest standards right now. It's a really uphill battle, though..

    It's amazing, looking back at the creations our TV and movie industries have come up with in the last decade. Terrorism has been a major theme. Even The Lone Gunmen on Fox had an episode involving diverting a plane that would have crashed into one of the WTC towers. Many movies that would have come out last fall have been delayed or canned.

    I worry a lot about the restrictions that may be put on TV and movies in the future, both in written laws and in unspoken agreements. I understand that Back to the Future was edited by TBS, TNT, and NBC to reduce the role of the Libyan terrorists that `Doc' Brown stole plutonium from. I think it's ludicrous! What's going to be edited next?

    Looking at Black Hawk Down, I think the real tragedy comes from putting people in a situation they shouldn't have been in in the first place. To me, a member of the public, the action in Somalia was billed as a humanitarian mission. The reality is apparently different, though I don't know if even the troops involved knew anything about that.

    I think it's another example of how open and truthful communication is important. When true motives are hidden, good people get themselves into bad situations.

    I've seen a lot of things get hidden in the post-9/11 world, so it's been hard for me to believe anything anymore. I avoid the news coverage of our little `war'.. At the moment, I'm taking time to work on figuring out my own life. The people near me have much less incentive to lie to me than the figureheads in government..

    I hope that I'll soon find some energy to try and help out in society. I think the community of Linux and other open source developers have seen the value of open communication, even if it occasionally degenerates into silly bickering. It's probably a good idea to get involved in the political process this year, even if it's just at a low level..
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When Arnold was on The Tonight Show one of them (he or Leno) made a joke about how the delay of the release of this movie would leave Arnold out of contention for an Oscar. Arnold further joked that "They've passed me over 25 times already."

    This is the tone for Arnold's movies. Nobody in their right mind would go see an Arnold movie and expect anything more than, well, an Arnold movie. If ever you walk out of one having expected something else, you just don't know Arnold movies.

    In this case, though I have not seen it (yet), I'm guessing that Arnold catches the terrorist, and that while he doesn't bring back his murdered family members, he does exact revenge in much the same way alot of the audience would like to for attacks here in the US. Arnold movies are escapist, entertaining (for some), and delivery what they promise, and that isn't so bad.
  • Why so many *pro* war movies since 9/11??? After years of anit-war movies, we are now being bludgeoned with propaganda peice after propaganda peice.

    Can they make movies of this scale in just 4 months?

    Is it a little odd the timing of all this?

    Just asking.. Cos I think its *wacky*

  • The movie is too long

    The movie is 109 minutes long. That's a LONG movie????

    I like the films I see to be about 120 minutes long, else I don't feel I'm getting what I paid for.

    Perhaps John Katz did not see Titanic.

    Rich...

  • by Fantastic Lad (198284) on Sunday February 10, 2002 @06:28PM (#2983855)
    There are what? Now three war films all shot just before 9-11.

    Since Hollywood is the pumping heart of mind-control media production for the West, is it any wonder they had films already in the bag designed to keep the embers of war-mongering public hate and nationalistic pride burning brightly?

    What blows me away is that they would be so blatent! You'd think they would at least wait until after the 9-11 display, just to keep the books clean, so to speak. The fact that can get away with this sort of thing demonstrates just how little work there is left to do in terms of programming the public.

    Oh. And here's an interesting tid-bit: In Toronto, there is a fellow claiming to be a U.S. Navy spy claiming that he had foreknowledge of 9-11. The interesting part is that he was locked up in a Canadian jail back in August. He was screaming and yelling about the impending September attacks, to the point where he signed a document to this effect, had it witnessed and court sealed, several weeks before they happened.

    You can read the article here [copvcia.com]


    -Fantastic Lad

    Death camps in America filled to capacity before this decade is out. They are empty and waiting already. . .

  • by geekoid (135745)
    Compare a movie made pre 9/11 and compare it to the post 9/11 world.
    I pretty burned out on Arnold, so i wasn't going to go see it, but if you like Arnold, you'll like this movie.
    The fact the he's getting older, for me, makes his roles more enjoyable. I like seeing some human withstanding huge odds, insteady of some unshakable mountain.
    Probably why I like Bruce Willis.
  • to a good review is keeping it in context.
    We all know Arnold isn't going to be doing anything on the level of Castaway, so you have to compare it to other Arnold Movies.

    You know, I joke about my spelling, but if I was publishing a review in a widely read web site, I'd make the effort to spell the country name correctly.

    I want to see Arnold play a system admin.

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