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Talk about a movie with bad timing. COLLATERAL DAMAGE ($29) was in the can and scheduled for a fall 2001 release when September 11th happened. With a plot that involved a terrorist attack on American soil, the Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer had its theatrical release delayed into 2002. However, even when COLLATERAL DAMAGE finally arrived in theaters, I don’t think anyone was capable of judging the movie on its own merits. COLLATERAL DAMAGE is a solid action outing that finds Schwarzenegger back in form and displaying a bit more maturity as an actor. The plot required more emotional depth than any of Schwarzenegger’s previous film roles and the actor showed that he was capable of more than firing a gun, flexing his muscles and delivering a funny comeback.

In COLLATERAL DAMAGE, Schwarzenegger portrays heroic firefighter Gordon Brewer, who loses his wife and young son in a terrorist bombing incident outside a Los Angeles office building. A Columbian guerilla leader nicknamed "El Lobo" takes responsibility for the attack after having fled back to his homeland. Although, the U.S. government has been running quasi-military operations in Columbia to curtail the drug trade, CIA Agent Peter Brandt (Elias Koteas), informs Brewer that for political reasons, it is unlikely that he will see justice for his dead wife and son. For that reason, Brewer decides to take matters into his own hands and travels down to Columbia to Kill "El Lobo" himself. However, unlike the super action heroes that Schwarzenegger usually plays, Brewer is an ordinary guy, who is driven by grief and relies on luck, more than anything else, to carry out his mission to avenge his wife and son. Of course, COLLATERAL DAMAGE does supply plenty of action, suspense and a couple of surprises, making the film an entertaining entry for the action movie/political thriller genres. The cast of COLLATERAL DAMAGE also features Francesca Neri, Cliff Curtis, Miguel Sandoval, Harry J. Lennix, John Leguizamo, and John Turturro.

Warner Home Video has made COLLATERAL DAMAGE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is really quite nice and stands as a pretty terrific visual improvement over the DVD release. Image sharpness and detail are all pretty great, especially for the exteriors, although the rest of the film renders quite well. Fine detail is certainly present and the picture comes across in a dimensional manner, but COLLATERAL DAMAGE probably isn’t a title to make it to the demo pile. Colors are nicely saturated and produce very pleasing flesh tones. Blacks are deep and whites are crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are also very good, but not exemplary. The film elements used for the transfer are quite clean. Grain is mild, with the presentation seeming organic.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. No surprises here, COLLATERAL DAMAGE features an aggressive action movie sound design. Sound effects pan effectively throughout the soundstage, with plenty of gunfire, explosions and screeching tires. In addition, the surround channels are put to good use for ambient recreations of the film’s jungle environments, as well as interior locations. The lossless encode enhances sound effects and musical reproduction. Speaking of the music, Graeme Revell’s unobtrusive score is rendered with excellent clarity and fidelity. The bass channel is deep and forcefully percussive, which enhances all the gunplay and explosions. Dialogue reproduction is crisp and clean, with excellent intelligibility- even with all the actors’ accents. English, French, Spanish and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, along with a Portuguese 2.0 track. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese and Swedish.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras, which appear to have been ported from the DVD release. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Andrew Davis. Next is The Making Of Collateral Damage, which runs fifteen-minutes and includes interviews with the director and stars. The Hero In A New Era is an eight-minute program in which director Davis and Schwarzenegger discuss COLLATERAL DAMAGE in relation to terrorism and the events of September 11th. Roughly eight minutes of Deleted Scenes are provided on the DVD; they are interesting to see once, but they didn’t add anything significant to the story and were obviously cut for pacing. . A Theatrical Trailer closes out the extras.

COLLATERAL DAMAGE is a solid action offering featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Blu-ray presentation is equally solid and certain to keep fans happy.



Collateral Damage [Blu-ray] (2001)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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