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Sabotage (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 110 minutes

Not for children.

What do you expect when you see Arnold Schwarzenegger and writer/director David Ayers collaborate on a movie, hearts and flowers? What you get is a lot of action, a lot of bullets flying around, and a lot of blood.

Arnold is Arnold. Here heís leading a DEA team of tough guys. Arnold and his team (including Sam Worthington) are suspected of ripping off $10 million on a DEA bust. When one of his team gets smoked, detective Olivia Williams gets on the case.

Ayers obviously has something against the English language because his scripts would have a lot of white space in them if it werenít for the f-word. While this film isnít nearly as vulgar as Ayersí End of Watch (2012), indeed it would have to go a long way to achieve that dubious distinction, it is still replete with bad language, including women who have to prove they are one of the guys and who use f-bombs with abandon. Itís disconcerting to see Shakespearean-trained Williams falling prey to this sort of language abuse. There is simply no need to populate films with such vulgar language. Ayers still pictures policemen (here, DEA agents) as immature fraternity boys who have to prove their manhood by using unrefined language.

The action is no more idiotic than the action that takes place in most pictures like this, but itís no less, either. The joke is that Ayers is quoted as saying that ďreality is the watchword of this project.Ē The only place where the action that Ayers produces in this movie is realistic is on a Hollywood backlot. There are gun fights with automatic weapons spraying bullets all over city streets and the insides of buildings. Bullets from automatic weapons can penetrate walls, but nobody in adjoining rooms is ever hit. Although to his credit Ayers does show some collateral damage during one street fight, when do gunfights like in this film ever happen anywhere even in Chicago and Detroit?

Although you donít go to a movie like this to watch acting, Williams gives a good performance, even if she does try to outdo the men in being a tough cop. Whatís good about the movie is that it has wonderful pace. Thereís a mystery that needs to be solved and revenge that needs to be gained. There isnít anyone contemplating their navels, or anything else that looks like Ayers thinks heís making some sort of artistic statement here. Itís yet another action picture and itís entertaining. ĎNuff said.

March 27, 2014