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Sabotage

Year: 2014
Production Co: Open Road Films
Director: David Ayer
Producer: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer/Skip Woods
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Mireille Enos, Olivia Williams, Harold Pirreneau, Martin Donovan,Terrence Howard

This movie got nothing but bad reviews everywhere I looked, and I couldn't quote work out why. Maybe I'm too forgiving of any movie Schwarzenegger's in – it's not like he sets the bar very high – but it was violent, nasty, dripping with testosterone, full of action and so bloodthirsty it was nearly a slasher movie, something I quite frankly find a welcome add-on to any action film with designs on being realistic.

The operative term above is 'nasty', and this hard R action film seems to have a lot of critics complaining about the amount of blood and violence. Isn't that a bit like going to a comedy and complaining about laughing too much?

Here's an example. After someone runs a car into the back of a truck and the carry tray shears the top of the car (and presumably the top half of the character) completely off, the fan of blood sprayed all around the car from an overhead shot looks like a balloon full of it's just exploded.

Sure, the story and characters were ridiculous. Schwarzenegger's acting is B grade at best (not exactly a newsflash). Much like the Star Wars prequels did to the likes of Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman and Ewen McGregor, the dialogue makes even good actors like Olivia Williams, Terrence Howard and Mireille Enos seem terrible at times.

But everyone's having a great time and you should too. Apparently it was first crafted as a mystery thriller but someone (either producers or the studio) made Ayer recast it as an action romp.

Breacher (Schwarzenegger) leads a team of macho DEA agents that dress, talk and shoot more like a gang of robbers and murderers – even the solitary woman (Enos) in their ranks. In the opening scene, they execute a textbook infiltration of a stereotypical Hispanic drug lord's mansion/stronghold, finding a huge pile of money and secreting some of it away for themselves for later.

Not only has someone stolen their cut when they go to collect it, but the whole crew is stood down while they're investigated about the money missing from the stash. Worse still, as soon as they're put back on active duty, someone starts bumping them off – in one case, nailing the victim to their ceiling and disemboweling him, leaving blood and innards to paint the floor and furniture.

When a hard-bitten but crusading cop (Williams) is put on the case, Breacher seems to accept her, frightened both for and by his crew in case one of them is the betrayer, and the race is on to find out who's behind the grisly killings before everybody's dead.

There's a tacked on ending about Breacher going to Mexico to find and exact revenge on the men who killed his wife, and it feels exactly like what it was described as on the imbd.com trivia page – shoehorned in to make him an anti-hero rather than the villain.

So after the critical and box office drubbing Sabotage has received, Schwarzenegger's post politics action star career still isn't making many waves.

You also have to feel a little bit sorry for Sam Worthington, who I didn't even recognise from the trailer at first with his shaved head and goatee. Without Avatar he'd just be another Australian going to auditions in LA, and considering his career since those heights (Texas Killing Fields, Man on a Ledge) he must be praying James Cameron hurries up and finishes pre-production on future Avatars and gives him a ring.

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