Sabotage (2014)

(On Cable TV, January 2015)  It’s hard being an aging action star.  Stallone seems unwilling to acknowledge that it’s happening to him, but Arnold Schwarzenegger seems to be trying a few strategies to remain in the game long after his retirement years.  In Sabotage, he takes up guns and a leadership role as an alternative to fisticuffs and stunts, and he’s easily the best in an ensemble cast.  Alas, he may also be the best things in a dirty violent thriller that seems delighted in its own gory nastiness.  Sabotage is all about dirty special agents who have come to believe their own mystique and proceed, in the opening sequence, to try to rob Mexican gangsters out of a few million dollars.  It doesn’t go well: one of them is killed on-site, prompting an official investigation.  When no evidence of wrongdoing is found, the aging leader of the gang goes back to find a unit that has lost its morale.  Thing seem to perk up as they train together, but then they all start dying one after another is a series of bloody murders.  We’d probably care more about the mystery if the victims weren’t all hyper-aggressive killers –it takes a long time for a lawful character to be introduced, and even then all she can do is being duped and witness the carnage.  The ending is very weak, although we’d told that the studio interfered and that the alternate endings available on the DVD are both stronger than the one that ended up in the theatrical release.  Even then, Sabotage remains a far-too-violent routine thriller –much like for his previous Olympus Has Fallen, director Antoine Fuqua ought to lighten up a bit.  In the meantime, it’s a perfectly acceptable entry in Schwarzenegger’s post-governorship career.

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