Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch
After the Fall 2016

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Reb's Rowdy Touts for Hot B Flicks: Sabotage

As Agent Mahone said to Michael Scofield in Prison Break: 'You've never gone a day in your life without a plan. Don't start on me now...' Those words come to mind after seeing Sabotage, the latest attempt by Arnold Schwarzenegger to reclaim his box office crown. The film's opening numbers: as dismal as his last two films. Reviews: exceptionally hostile. The film itself: well worth a look if you're an Arnold watcher...and if you remember that this man has succeeded in doing whatever he set out to do all his life.

I believe he has a plan, to which I'll return in a minute. As for the film, it's far better than the critics would have you believe. And, though it has violent moments, it isn't a Non-Stop procession of exploding heads and gore. Except for the thrilling finale, most of the violence happens on-screen or is edited discreetly. Furthermore, Arnold gives a far better performance than anyone's allowed. As a DEA agent still mourning the murder of his wife, he's more restrained than usual and focused on his work, but flashes of passion and wit still break through. 

The hook is a good one and holds us: Arnold's DEA team of undercover agents steal ten million dollars in the opening drug bust and store it for reclaiming later. But the money is gone when they get there...the whole team falls under suspicion...and someone starts picking them off one by one as in Ten Little Indians. And the film's main strength lies in its handling of the mystery and the suspense.

The film's main two flaws: 1) The team remains in dirt bag character even when they're by themselves so we don't get to know them as people. 2) We don't need to hear the f-word in every single sentence to recall they're supposed to be druggies.

Neither one of those flaws should prevent you from taking a chance on this film. For, trust me on this, Arnold does have a plan--and it's important to anyone who's past the age of thirty. In The Expendables, back in 2010, we saw a bloated version of the man who had been king. It was good to see him, after seven years, but not to see him like that. What a gut! And he didn't look much better in The Expendables 2 or The Last Stand. But he knew the real game was one of Beat the Clock: as an action star he had perhaps 7-10 years, tops, before he was too old. And the problem was: it might take him a couple of years to get back into shape. Arnold had to understand: no one who loved the young Arnold wants to see him old and fat. Film by film, we've started to see him slowly rechisel his body. Meanwhile, he's worked with both good directors and actors.

The master links in Arnold's plan have to be Terminator 5, slotted for next year, and The Legend of Conan (no details announced). Till T5, we'll have Maggie (a zombie film) and The Expendables 3. My prediction? He'll keep all his work in the gym under wraps--and unveil it in T5, at which time he'll be 68. Proof to the world that a fat older man can claw his way back to the top of the heap. 

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