The latest installment in Erik Childress' "Criticwatch" feature focuses on the unfamiliar names drafted to bestow positive notices on "Sabotage," the latest comeback vehicle for ex-Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger. In addition to the traditional reaming of quote whores, he lavishes especial scorn on one Mac Hernandez of the CW affiliate in Dallas, Texas, who called "Sabotage" "'Training Day' meets 'End of Watch,'" which would be a more useful observation were not all three films directed by the same person.
It is bad enough when a quote whore is so short-sighted enough to just come up with a comparison of films involving the last one made by one of the stars. (Or see "since 'The Notebook'" to describe any Nicholas Sparks adaptation.) But it is worse to compare two films made by the same director; the same two films that the studio is already REFERENCING to sell the film to the public. The ads may as well say: "From the maker of 'Training Day' and 'End of Watch' comes...'Training Day' meets 'End of Watch.'" That is not an endorsement but an accusation. It says that David Ayer's latest film doesn't have enough forward vision in his career to go beyond just copying the models of his previous works.
Adam Graham, Detroit News
If these guys talked any tougher -- "ammo’s cheap, my life ain’t," one of them barks at one point -- their muscles would protrude out of their mouths.
Michael Sragow, Orange County Register
Rarely has a non-horror movie lavished as much attention on viscera and entrails; the only times brains enter the picture are from head wounds.
Scott Foundas, Variety
Ayer (who also wrote "Training Day") is a detail fetishist who brings a lot of firsthand knowledge to his cinematic depictions of police work. But "Sabotage" jumps the shark early and often with its ever-thickening web of deceit, elaborately fabricated cover-ups and crucial evidence.
Manohla Dargis, New York Times
This is a movie that demands audience participation, shared cries of derision, bursts of laughter and warnings shouted out to the characters, like, "Get out now!"
And yet, there's a strain that starts to creep into them suggesting that while "Sabotage" is indisputably terrible, it's also... kind of enjoyable?
Ty Burr, Boston Globe
The new Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, "Sabotage," is stupid, sadistic, misogynistic, confusing, and more than a little ridiculous. Here's the thing, though: It keeps you watching, if only to see how tortured the plot or characters are going to get.
Chris Klimek, Village Voice
SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: "Sabotage" is vulgar. It's violent. It's profane. It's preposterous. It's deeply irresponsible and impossible to defend rationally. Q: Is it the most amusing film the Austrian Oak has been a part of since the nuclear terrorism comedy "True Lies," 20 years, two terms in office, and several flops ago? A: Pretty much.
David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer
This is the type of movie best enjoyed as a late-night indulgence on cable. Really late at night, when your eyes are still partially open, but your brain has called it quits.
Maybe it's hard to resist the temptation of "The Killing's" Mirelle Enos as a borderline-psycho homicide cop, but even some of the negative reviews make buying a ticket for "Sabotage" a little bit tempting.