The last decade hasn't been great for Arnold Schwarzenegger. His run in politics didn't make much of an impact, and his return to films hasn't exactly been a grand comeback. It's not just his age, or his decision to make action movies at this age, but also the fact that it's no longer the '90s, and audiences have outgrown the cheesy action movie genre.
Such is the predicament of Arnold's latest movie 'Sabotage'. It has the same issues that his previous films, The Last Stand and Escape Plan, faced: it tries to emulate the charm of '90s action movies, feeds on your Arnold nostalgia, tries to spin in some modern action setups, and fails at every one of those things. It's even more disappointing that the film is directed by David Ayer, the guy behind Training Day and last year's excellent, End of Watch.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Sabotage'
The plot is as hackneyed as it can get; Arnold and his teammates are part of an elite police force — they get a mysterious assignment, and drop dead one after the other. It is reminiscent of the Agatha Christie novel, And Then There Were None, but unlike that book (and its superb film adaptations), 'Sabotage' makes the identity of the villain painfully clear. The whodunit loses its mystery within the first twenty minutes, and you're just left twiddling your thumbs, waiting for the inevitable to happen.
The one thing 'Sabotage' gets right is the gore – every murder is grisly and they are the only moments where the film actually caters to its target audience. Ayer uses the same kinetic style of End of Watch during the shootouts and blood splatters. As a bonus, there are some trademark tough cop and misogynistic lines, all of which fall flat. There is even Sam Worthington wearing unrecognisable facial hair, and is so uncharismatic he makes you hate him more for taking over Arnold's place as the Terminator. Arnold himself is tired and forced. His eyes give away the knowing expression of someone who is aware of being past his prime, and is desperate to get back in the game. If he keeps picking projects like 'Sabotage', his journey is not going to end well. Someone get him a new agent pronto.