Thursday, April 17, 2014


By James Colt Harrison

Arnold is back in his new Open Road non-stop actioner Sabotage.
Is there blood? Gallons. Are there bodies? Hundreds. Are there bullets? Thousands. But, best of all, is there fun? Definitely.

Unexpectedly entertaining, Sabotage gives Arnold fans what they want. He’s as “bad” as ever, strong, solid, and determined as can be in his role of John “Breacher” Warton, the commander of an elite squad of Drug Enforcement Agency operatives. They’re independent of the regular DEA forces and take their jobs seriously. They answer to no-one it seems, and Schwarzenegger takes advantage of that freedom by breaking all the rules.

Surprisingly, the script is loosely based on Agatha Christie’s 1939 hit book And Then There Were None. Very loosely, we might say. It did serve as a starting point. In the 1945 20th Century Fox film starring Barry Fitzgerald and Judith Anderson, the guests on a deserted island get killed off one by one. The same idea is used for Sabotage when Arnold’s team is killed off under bizarre circumstances.

What would cause an elite team of warriors such as this to be killed so brutally? While on a mission down in Mexico to raid a cartel, they find a huge pile of money stashed away by the druggies. Their assignment given them by Chief Phelps (Michael Monks) is to destroy the money. Only a saint or the Pope could resist the temptation to skim a little off the top for their efforts, so the guys secret away $10 million to be picked up later. They blow up the remaining millions. The cartel guys get very angry about this and will seek revenge. Lots of bullets zing, and bodies fly through the air in pieces after being turned into Swiss cheese by automatic machine guns. The good guys escape. Hooray! But do they?

Ah, but the story doesn’t end there. Arnold’s team is now targeted by the vicious cartel stooges, but they don’t realize who is doing the initial killings. One by one Arnold’s team is iced off in various brutal and clever ways. Too bloody to explain here, but the special effects guys on the film have a great time thinking of new ways to disembowel a victim.

It is this stage of the movie where it becomes a mystery as nobody knows what is happening to the guys and why. Screenwriters Skip Woods and David Ayer have not neglected humor and have injected some vey funny lines throughout and some hilarious situations to relieve the gravity of the main story. Arnold, whose basic manner is completely humorless, is the funniest of them all.

Inexplicably, tough FBI agent Caroline Brentwood (played by age-appropriate Olivia Williams) is on Arnold’s side when the FBI accuses him of stealing the missing money. She’s tough but vulnerable to 66 year-old Arnold’s charm, which he has in abundance.

The elite team is composed of Avatar’s Sam Worthington (Monster), Magic Mike’s Joe Manganiello (Grinder), Lost’s Josh Holloway (Neck), Iron Man’s Terrence Howard (Sugar), Captain Phillip’s Max Martini (Pyro), End of Watch’s Kevin Vance (Tripod), World War Z’s Mireille Enos (Lizzy), and Mark Schlegel as Smoke.

Yes, the film is all hokum and a set-up for Arnold’s steely gaze, but it is a rousing piece of entertainment and an enjoyable ride through territory that might not be on your vacation schedule. Guys will love the rough and tumble scenes of Arnold wiping out the entire clientele in a Mexican bar all by himself. What else would we expect from the former Mr. Universe?

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