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Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams, Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello, Harold Perrineau, Martin Donovan, Max Martini, Josh Holloway, Mireille Enos

Director: David Ayer

It’s patently obvious that few politicians ever keep their promises.

But when Arnold Schwarzenegger said he’d be back, he kept his word. And so, after serving the state of California as Governor, he’s back on screen again doing what he does best – kicking ass hard and often.

So if you’re expecting an Exhibition style art movie worthy of a thousand words on subtext and influences in ‘Sight and Sound’, forget it.

Sabotage is nothing more than a bloody, brutal multiplex-aimed thriller centred on its star and stuffed with enough Channel 4-letter words to make The Wolf of Wall Street envious.

It’s patently obvious that co-writer/director David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch) understands the range and appeal of his star since, apart from moments brooding in front of a screen watching his wife being tortured and killed, revenge-seeking Schwarzenegger (you know he’s a hard character since he still smokes in these PC times) is best showcased in action in his role of the leader of an elite Drug Enforcement Agency Squad who go rogue and steal $10 million from a cartel only to have their illegal spoils stolen, leaving Arnie and crew as suspects in an internal investigation.

Bu after being cleared and returning to duty, the squad members (“We’re not a team any more – just a gang”) are targeted for death…

Action, not intellect, is the emphasis here and Ayer delivers it hard and often, with blood everywhere and narrative and character-driven logic hardly evident. Style, too, is dismissed in favour of adrenaline-surging sequences that include a memorable chase through the streets of Atlanta with deranged over-the-top Mireille Enos shooting from the boot of a speeding car…

While ‘acting’ as such isn’t really required, the supporting players (including Olivia Williams with a competent-enough American accent as an Atlanta homicide detective who reacts positively to Schwarzenegger) fill their roles adequately enough without straining themselves and allow Schwarzenegger to do what Schwarzenegger does best, notably in a wild shoot-out in a crummy Mexican bar.

Sabotage is basically a B-movie with blood.

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour.
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 08 May 2014