Collateral Damage (2002)

collateraldamage_1Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Francesca Neri, Elias Koteas, Cliff Curtis, John Leguizamo, John Turturro, Jsu Garcia, Tyler Posey, Miguel Sandoval, Harry Lennix

Directed by Andrew Davis

Expectations: I remember wanting to like this, but being disappointed.

twohalfstar


Collateral Damage isn’t a bad movie, but the potential of the premise is not fully realized. This disappointment stems directly from the film’s tone and its production year. See, the premise is totally ’80s action fluff — a father out for vengeance in the jungles of Columbia — but the execution is pure early 2000s when tones had darkened and reckless fun had all but vanished from action movies. There are times when the film seems to forget what year it is and have fun with its dumb plot (mostly in the 3rd act), but it never does it enough to get into that sweet spot of entertainment. I love Arnold, so I still enjoyed it greatly, but it is frustrating to see so much wasted Arnold-tastic potential.

Gordy Brewer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a well-respected member of the firefighting team, loves saving people for a living. His job causes him to work odd hours, though, making the care of his son something of a juggling act between Gordy and his wife. One day Gordy agrees to pick up his son from a building downtown, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s the same building targeted by international terrorist El Lobo (Cliff Curtis). Lobo’s bomb kills Gordy’s wife and child, sending him on a one-man mission of revenge that will stop at absolutely nothing.

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Girls in Prison (1994)

girlsinprison_2Starring Missy Crider, Anne Heche, Ione Skye, Bahni Turpin, Miguel Sandoval, Nicolette Scorsese, Jon Polito, Nestor Serrano, Richmond Arquette

Directed by John McNaughton

Expectations: None.

On the general scale:
onehalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


Girls in Prison immediately announces itself as a schlocky, camp-driven film, and on that front it definitely delivers. It is a pastiche of the pantheon of prison films made over the years, perhaps most obviously the popular B-Movie “Women in Prison” films. I honestly haven’t seen any of those, so I can’t say for sure, but it’s pretty obvious, right? It’s gotta be. Anyway, as long as you’re OK with a lighthearted, B-Movie visit to the Big House, Girls in Prison is fine entertainment.

Our story begins like a fairy tale as the words, “Once upon a Time” come on-screen. We are sequentially introduced to three girls who do something to land them in the slammer. The whole tone is satirical, though, so even though people are getting literally stabbed in the back or beaten to death with a hammer, it brings a smile to your face because of the ridiculous nature of the acts. The film heightens reality in such a way that the fairy tale allusion makes total sense, too. This is clearly not meant to be our everyday world; it is a fantasy set in the realm of the B-movie.

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