JUST AS you are about to dismiss it as a foreign flick on the very familiar desi lines of revenge, ``Collateral Damage'' makes you sit up.
Another excellent suspense thriller from Andrew Davis, director of ``The Fugitive,'' ``Collateral Damage'' is all about L.A. firefighter Gordy Brewer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who is a picture of joy one moment and of sorrow and wrath the next.
Gordy rushes out to join his wife and young son at a downtown highrise. He is late by a few seconds and arrives to witness the building explode killing his family before his eyes. Colombia's rebel leader and terrorist, ``The Wolf'' as he is called, is the cause of the bomb blast and the targets were the members of the Colombian Consulate and the American Intelligence agents. And if innocent people like Gordy's wife and child happened to be at the wrong place at the inopportune moment, well it was just collateral damage. Gordy is unable to take it anymore when Wolf's whereabouts seem to be of interest to none except himself. He goes in search of the killers and it's action, adventure and thrill as an ingenious plot unfolds, because the killer is on the prowl once again, to strike where least expected.
The screenplay (David Griffiths and Peter Griffiths) is indescribably tension-filled in the last hour of Warner Bros' ``Collateral Damage.'' Arnold as the shocked father mouthing the refrain, ``I saw him'' (meaning the killer) and moving about like a zombie, and later as the embittered, vengeful and relentless stalker, is an appealing mix of emotion and action.
The masked terrorist's ominous warning on television, ``You will not be safe in your own beds... '' and the investigators' pointed and cryptic comment, ``They don't want peace... all they want is to sell cocaine, Mr. Brandt,'' are a couple of examples of the hard hitting dialogue that ``Collateral... impresses you with.
Cliff Curtis as Claudio ``The Wolf'' looks aptly menacing.
The background score is another fine aspect of the film.
The scene of the bomb blast, where a young mother and child are blown apart, is reminiscent of the Dennis Quaid starrer, ``Savior''. In ``Savior'' too Dennis's world of a happy threesome is shattered by an explosion and revenge follows, but takes a different turn.
If you can sit through the predictable rigmarole of the first few reels, Schwarzenegger's ``Collateral Damage'' offers an incredible and hazardous operation from there on.
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