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Oh, ugh, here it is: Ahnuld’s- screwed-by-Sept. 11 action corker, Collateral Damage. Fortunately or un-, we Americans convert pain to self-congratulation quickly, so Schwarzenegger couldn’t have made a mediocre jingoistic explosionfest at a better time. He’s a heroic firefighter! Swarthy terrorists blow up his wife and kid! Mealy-mouthed American “spokesmen” for the terrorists urge the government to reconsider the international policies that could incite such violence! Let’s roll. Schwarzenegger, as Gordy Brewer, wedges knife in teeth and takes off for the jungles of Colombia, where the guerrilla warlord who calls himself El Lobo (Cliff Curtis) awaits. Along the way, he meets a cast of oddball characters—John Turturro as a creepy engineer, John Leguizamo as a hiphop hopeful running a cocaine plant—and evades the CIA agents who are hot on his trail, equally willing to kill or rescue him, depending which will get the troublesome vigilante out of their crew cuts faster. Elias Koteas plays agent-in-pursuit Peter Brandt by raising one eyebrow and screwing down the other, and Arnold, massive, shapeless, and bafflingly beshirted throughout, looks like the project in human engineering he’s always wanted to be. Interestingly, one of the fallout factors of the real-life attack is that Warner Bros., which held the movie’s release for four months, is now dealing with a reasonably well-informed public. So despite all its ripped-from-the-headlines titillation, the film has some glaring soft spots. Does it never occur to the fictional G-men that El Lobo might have taped his threats before each attack? Would they really show Brewer a tape of his family being publicly crisped? And shouldn’t Gordy know that falling for a terrorist’s toothsome wife and adorable little boy is just what they want you to do? It doesn’t matter. The studio was, um, overconfident to believe that, in the wake of America’s recent experiences, Collateral Damage could possibly be either harrowing or ill-timed. Schwarzenegger’s laughably dumbfounded face and the lumpy, tension-free direction make sure of that. —Arion Berger