What can you expect from a movie that stars an aging super-Swede (on pure muscle count), directed by the maker of "The Fugitive", with promos that promise spit and fire? It sometimes pays to follow intuition!!
Gordon Brewer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a firefighter from Los Angeles. One afternoon he’s supposed to pick up his wife and little son from the cafeteria at the Colombian Consulate, when, boom! a bomb goes off. His family is naturally killed. The local police and FBI decide that this is another one of the many recent terrorist attacks by a Columbian rebel group, in protest against the uncalled-for interference by the US government in local matters of Colombia. A Colombian support group in the US rationalizes the recent attack on the local news, which irks a convalescing Gordon to rush into their underground office and wreck havoc by smashing all and sundry.
When he learns that his own government has decided to adopt a peaceful stand, and immediately curtail its attack on the Colombian rebel group in their native land, he makes plans to infiltrate the rebel group and show them the end of his fist, following the basic tenet of terrorism - an eye for an eye. So making a fairly uneventful trip to the land where buses stop to the firing of rebel rifles, he searches for the mastermind behind the attacks. His trek through southern foliage takes him to Felix Ramirez (John Leguizamo), a young dealer of cocaine, who’s more intent on making it to the rap scene than he is on churning out his poison powder. Finally arriving at the headquarters of the revolutionary leader, he gets acquainted with the man’s wife and son, who befriend him, and help him escape in time to foil another bombing in Washington.
There you have it. That’s as far as the story goes. Now while the basic premise did have potential to develop into a fairly dynamic film, a sorry cast, a ridiculous script and poor production makes this a yawner. Allusions to the recent September 11th attacks cannot be missed, but that’s all that stares you in the face - the uncanny resemblance of plot. The rest is basic hogwash that only gets more and more trying on all faculties, mostly the cerebral. Arnold looks good, but is incapable of evoking grief, as the earlier half of the film demands.
Like I said in the opener - follow that gut feeling and stay away from this piece of damage.This article was first published on 27 May 2002.