Film: Collateral Damage

El Lobo: The fireman, huh?
Gordon Brewer: The coward who kills women and children.
El Lobo: You Americans are so naive. You see a peasant with a gun on the news, you change channels. But you never ask, "Why does a peasant need a gun?" Why? You think you're the only ones who can fight for independence?
Gordon Brewer: Independence to do what? Kill my wife and son?!

Collateral Damage is an action thriller from 2002, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

After his family is killed in an explosion caused by Colombian terrorist El Lobo, New York city fireman Gordon Brewer sets out to get him.

Originally set to be released in the October of 2001, the film had to pushed to early 2002 due to 9/11 attacks.

This film has the examples of:

  • An Axe to Grind: El Lobo is finished off with an axe, which Gordon throws on his back.
  • Batter Up: Gordon, in his anguish, thrashes the Colombian embassy office with a baseball bat when he hears his family referred to as "collateral damage".
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The final showdown.
  • Big Bad: Claudio Perrini, aka El Lobo (The Wolf).
  • California Doubling: Set in Colombia, filmed in Mexico.
  • The Cameo: Arnold's buddy Sven-Ole Thorsen appears briefly as a man smoking a cigarette right before the fateful explosion happens.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The video claiming the authority of the bombing.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Gordon is a fireman. This comes in handily when he wants to get access to a bombing place (he can help), escaping a building on fire (he remains calm and knows how to avoid the flames), vividly describing Armstrong what the effects of being burned alive are in order to frighten him, and using a fireman's ax as a weapon in the movie's climax.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: Averted. The CIA are depicted as protagonists, particularly Brandt.
  • Darker and Edgier: Along with End of Days, when compared to other Arnold films.
  • The Dragon: Selena.
  • Evil Versus Evil: How the Colombian Conflict is portrayed.
  • Gender Is No Object: For the FARC.
  • Mangst: The first ten minutes or so are Gordon wallowing in angst (while occasionally beating things up); the rest of the movie is him beating things up (while occasionally wallowing in angst).
  • Mle Trois: Once Gordon arrives in Colombia, it's between him versus the guerrilla versus the paramilitaries.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Claudio delivers a brief but brutal one to Gordon after Gordon kills Selena in the climax.
  • Not So Different: The Colombian spokesman points that the Los Angeles bombing is par of the course in Colombia, both by the FARC and anti-FARC factions supported by the United States.
  • Occupiers out of Our Country: The Americans, of course. Pretty much the reason why they launched the attack that killed Gordon's family.
    El Lobo!Selena: We'll continue to strike until the American public finally realizes this war's price is one they cannot afford. Get out of Colombia, now.
  • Outrun the Fireball: In the climax, Gordon runs away from a massive explosion as the Big Bad and The Dragon take aim at him while chasing him on a motorcycle.
  • Sliding Scale Of Silliness Vs Seriousness: Again, very serious when compared to other Arnold films.
  • Small Reference Pools: Averted to some degree. While obviously a Hollywood action flick, the movie cares to differentiate between the Colombian government, the Guerrillas (FARC), the paramilitaries and the US government/CIA/DEA.
    • Latino Is Brown: On the other hand, Choc, Colombia, where Gordon travels to is in real life almost completely inhabited by black people. However, not a single black person appears in the film.
  • Technical Pacifist: Unlike other action movies dealing with terrorists, Gordon never uses a firearm at all to kill anyone. Even in the scene when escaping from a police roadblock in Colombia and disarming an officer's AR-15, he just throws it away the instant he gets shot at.
  • Too Much Information: Gordon tells Armstrong in vivid detail what will happen to him if he burns alive, while being caged in a burning jail, in order to convice him to give his safe-conduct.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: What the Colombian diaspora in Los Angeles thinks of the FARC.