Collateral () questions and answers
Collateral Damage () on IMDb: Plot summary, synopsis, and more. Cut to a scene where Brewer teaches his son on how to play a toy plane and they as the police officer he met before an explosion is the responsible for the attack and . An engine and ladder company are on-scene attacking the fire with They meet fire on the third floor. On goes the water. .. We hear the ENORMOUS BANG of the explosion. .. How's that for collateral damage? INT. Overall despite Collateral Damage's behind the scenes problems it's a good the kill count, but this time things blow up because Arnold went and built a bomb.
Schwarzenegger himself does a decent job acting as the grief-stricken father but it's not quite good enough to make up for the flaws in the film. It doesn't even feel like there are real consequences to the actions of the film. There's a scene in the movie where Gordy gets into a fight with a U.
We also never get to delve on the dark path that revenge can lead to. It seems pretty farfetched that if your goal is only to kill the one guy that crossed you and that guy happens to be a master terrorist with a decently sized army of followers that you would manage to keep your hands as clean as our protagonist does. More interesting than our protagonist and our villain are the side characters we meet throughout; John Torturro and John Leguizamo have small roles that you think are going to come back because their characters actually feel pretty fleshed out for the limited screen time that they get but you really don't get much of a payoff for meeting them.
The movie does pick up towards the end where there are some unexpected turns and a scene with a homeless man accidentally discovering a weapon that actually generates some pretty good tension too.
Genres can essentially act as cultural problem-solving techniques, focusing on threats to social order then alleviating those threats through the demands of narrative closure. Genres can thus allow the culture to both display and alleviate concerns about the social order. The action film also usually depicts a literal threat to social order and legality as they often center on crime, military actions, or terrorism. These conflicts and anxieties, however, are then resolved through genre conventions and an articulation of moral legibility.
In Collateral Damage, however, we see a new threat to the social order that typical action films often overlook: In the film, the primary threat to social order that is resolved through narrative closure is not necessarily terrorism but moral confusion, our willingness to become involved in the human suffering of terrorists.
One of the key tools for solving this problem in Collateral Damage is the expanding discourse of U. As Mark Gallagher notes, the action film genre has increasingly dramatized a cultural crisis in masculinity by emphasizing domesticity more and more in what has usually been a genre reserved for male fantasies of omnipotence and violence: As True Lies so explicitly illustrates, the role of the good father and the role of the masculine warrior for the nation-state are one in the same: By emphasizing their roles as fathers and protectors of the family, men can reassert the authority lost through bureaucratization and corporate capitalism.
These discourses of gender and family in the action film have received a great deal of attention in recent years. However, while these debates are important, it seems clear that in many cases the complex negotiation of gender and parental roles in these films is resolved and contained by means of its juxtaposition with an evil, racialized threat. So while the films are getting more complicated in terms of gender relations and the importance of the family, these complications are almost always resolved at least temporarily through the imperative to kill the racialized villain who threatens the white family.
This villain acts as a scapegoat through which the familial tensions of white USA can be if not solved then at least forgotten in the face of a more important threat to the family and nation.
It also provides the easy metaphor of the family as the nation and the father as imperialist patriarch, solidifying the symbolic power of melodrama in the action cinema. By hinging the power of U. At stake in the action cinema, therefore, is the very dominance of the white U.
Collateral Damage - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes
The growing importance of fatherhood in the action cinema also underscores the significance of imperialism in these films as they insist upon the paternal nature of U. As Gallagher points out, the action film protagonist we now commonly see is a suffering patriarch.
He must learn throughout the film to juggle his domestic and heroic responsibilities. This provides an apt metaphor for the post-Vietnam suffering U. Beset by a culture increasingly concerned with the racist implications of imperialism and wary of the prospect of military quagmires, the U. Thus the melodrama of terrorism in the action cinema makes morally legible continuing U. It should be no surprise, then, that the preferred protector of this neo-imperialist order is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who offers an alternate discourse of masculinity and nationalism to many of his action star rivals.
Many critics argue that the Rambo films especially the second and third, in which Rambo leaves rural Oregon and goes to Vietnam and then Afghanistan allowed the U. Yet as William Warner argues, the Rambo films equally depict the guilt of U. This masochistic display, of course, represents another cultural conflict that the action genre solves through its sadistic formulas and conventions.
Nevertheless, the trilogy and Stallone remain embroiled in this sadomasochistic discourse of U. Schwarzenegger, however, transcends the debates surrounding a fractured post-Vietnam, U. He epitomizes an Aryan fantasy of white perfection. His film The Terminator, in which he plays a cyborg with a singular and all-consuming mission to kill Sarah Connor Linda Hamiltoninitiated this discourse of man-as-machine, relying upon his perfectly constructed muscles to connote mechanization.
He personifies a futurist authoritarian model of the human machine. This process is explicitly dramatized in Kindergarten Cop where Schwarzenegger plays a hard-nosed cop who goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher, imposes discipline on the classroom, and learns to love his newfound fatherly role.
The Schwarzenegger cyborg humanizes himself by learning human behavior from John, and in one scene Sarah notes to herself that the cyborg is a perfect, reliable father. He even sacrifices his existence for the good of the human race by lowering himself and the technology that could destroy the world within him into a vat of melted steel.
Not only is he a fireman who risks his life to save others as depicted in the opening scenebut we also see Gordy helping his young son construct a sci-fi aircraft, emphasizing his loving attentiveness and alluding to the Schwarzenegger-as-action hero star text: The scene interweaves through parallel editing two storylines: Gordy meeting his wife and son at a crowded urban plaza and the terrorist disguised as a policeman placing and detonating his bomb as U.
We then cut back and forth between Gordy's arriving to meet his family and the government officials' arriving at the black marble consulate lobby. A scene of traditional nuclear family domesticity is structured into a scene of important governmental and military business, emphasizing the symbolic connection between familial security and national security.
As the bomb detonates and tears through both the lobby and the crowded plaza on the other side of the glass wall, an attack on U. Yet it is their deaths that bear the symbolic weight of the attack and their deaths that provide the narrative conflict for the film.
Collateral Damage, then, does more than equate national security and familial security. This scene, therefore, depicts Gordy's failure as a patriarch: The film establishes that, as the mother and child wait for him, Gordy arrives late at the plaza. Gordy's tardiness and failure at a simple domestic task place his family and, by implication, the nation in grave danger.
Gordy hesitates for a moment, looks back at the strangely quiet policeman, but turns away and waves to his family. In the world of the action film, the hero often evinces a preternatural instinct for danger, an uncanny ability to see what others do not. Yet here the audience must experience the dramatic irony of Schwarzenegger's coming face to face with his nemesis and not recognizing him or the threat he poses.
These failures are symbolically represented in the scene by the visual emasculation of Gordy. As the bomb detonates and Gordy sees that his family is in danger, the moment when the action-hero-as-father must step into action, a distracted taxi driver veers off the road and crashes into Gordy, sending him flying through the air and knocking him unconscious.
At the moment he is most needed to fulfill his duties, Gordy is rendered impotent and inert in a genre that rewards only action and movement.
And as the taxi literally comes between Gordy and his heroic obligation, we see in two different shots that his sunglasses are knocked off his face and sent flying through the air. This scene, therefore, establishes both the narrative and thematic imperative of the film: Gordy must be redeemed for his failures by seeking justice for both his family and the nation, whose representatives decide that the political situation in Colombia is too sensitive to authorize the CIA agent Brandt to seek out El Lobo.
The moral complexities that engender this uneasy and infrequent violence in an action film, however, only solidify the action hero's fatherly instinct. This is seen as Gordy comes tantalizingly close to fulfilling his murderous mission. After terroristically placing a homemade bomb in the home of Claudio, Gordy walks away and sees a woman and her son walking down the street, the same woman and child that he paternally protected in a public market earlier in the film.
Having to choose between warning the mother and child and thus alerting Claudio to the threat and letting them die in order to enact his revenge, Gordy chooses the former and no one is hurt in the explosion. Bringing her son along, Selena is taken to the State Department where she must identify which major Washington landmark Claudio is currently planning to attack.
Staging this as the melodramatic and pathos-filled decision of a wife to choose the good of the society over her loyalty to her family, the film seems to be denying the possibility of an action film climax, focusing instead on the ability of an army of U.
The moral ambiguities seem to have trumped the vengeful and righteous imperative to ultra-violence. Instead of a merger of the action hero and father, we instead get a sensitive and feminized patriarch who lets the bureaucracy do the violent grunt work for him. This potentially un-spectacular ending, however, is only a clever ruse. Noticing that Selena shares a unique gesticular tick with the masked El Lobo, Gordy redeems himself as an action hero by solving the puzzle posed by the narrative: If, however, in the opening scenes Gordy fails to see the danger right in front of him, he now recognizes his nemesis and redeems himself.
The film literally displays for both Gordy and the audience the solution to the puzzle and the resolution of the moral ambiguity. Most explicitly, it denies the previous implication of the film that even terrorists are part of traditional families that need to be protected.
Selena becomes, in other words, a politically monstrous mother, a woman whose commitment to terrorism violates some of the most serious feminine taboos. Rather than fulfilling her expected role as an apolitical woman, she instead reveals herself to be an uncaring mother. This is accentuated after Selena is discovered to be El Lobo, and her demure and feminine personality gives way to a display of hyper-masculine martial arts brutality and murder.
Any pretensions to humanity and familial values on the part of terrorists, in other words, are merely acts intended to lure Gordy and the nation into a dangerous empathy. Terrorists, instead, unnaturally disregard even the lives of their own offspring. They do not embody the traditional values that both families and nations are supposedly held together with and definitely could not act as a wholesome national parental unit the way, for example, Ronald and Nancy Reagan could. Brewer infiltrates Claudio's headquarters and plants a bomb to kill him, but he is captured when he tries to prevent a woman, Selena, from being caught in the blast radius along with her son, Mauro.
Collateral Damage (film) - Wikipedia
At Claudio's home compound, Selena reveals she is Claudio's wife. She and Claudio once lost their own child during an American attack, which compelled Claudio to become a terrorist; Selena found and adopted Mauro, whose parents were killed in the attack. Nevertheless, Selena sympathizes with Brewer and admits that Claudio is planning another bombing in Washington, D.
Meanwhile, Brandt's unit locates Claudio's compound and launches an attack. On the pretense of using the lavatory, Selena excuses herself from the command room and becomes irritated when Mauro refuses to come with her. When Brewer sees Selena make the same gesture as the masked man who claimed to be El Lobo in the tape, he realizes that she was the Wolf all along, and Claudio serves as her figurehead, and that the entire motive behind their cause is personal revenge for the death of their daughter at the hands of the US.
Furthermore, Brewer surmises the real target is the State Department, and that he was used to help Selena get past the building's security. Brewer quickly throws Mauro's bomb-laden toy dinosaur out a window moments before it explodes. Brandt, realizing Brewer's suspicions, is shot and killed trying to stop Selena from fleeing the building.
Brewer chases Selena to the basement of the building where she and Claudio ride off through the underground tunnels on a motorcycle.