The ex-governor is back in Sabotage
By Peter Covino
He hasn’t had this much to say since he was governor of California.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the actor-turned-governor-turned-actor again is pretty much up to usual form in Sabotage (Universal Studios Home Entertainment), an action film where he plays Breacher Wharton, the task force leader of a DEA team, that is not having a particularly good time of it.
In the opening bullet-filled sequence, Wharton and company very much get the better of things as they raid a heavily-armed drug cartel safe house. But shortly afterward, things go awry. First, a large sum of cash is missing from the raid, and the team leader is the prime suspect.
He manages to survive the finger pointing and soon he and the guys are back on the job. But somebody is not happy with the DEA. The agents are turning up dead, and everyone is a suspect.
This is a very violent film, some of those killed meet such horrific ends that Freddy Krueger would be proud to take credit. One standout action sequence: one of the agents somehow ends up locked in an RV on a railroad track and yes, here comes a speeding train.
Another plus is the assemblage of dysfunctional types that make up this DEA team, with nicknames like Monster, Pyro, Grinder, Smoke and Lizzy.
Directed and screenplay by David Ayer (End of Watch, Training Day) and also starring Sam Worthington and Olivia Williams, Sabotage does go on too long, considering what it has to offer, but Schwarzenegger fans will be happy all the same to see him heading up the cast.
The Blu-ray combo features an Ultraviolet copy for viewing practically almost anywhere, and bonus features on both the DVD and Blu-ray include Making Sabotage, a behind-the-scenes feature; alternate endings and deleted scenes.
More entertaining, but almost equally violent, is Gangster (Inception Media Group), the story of real-life Scottish gangster Paul Ferris.
Ferris doesn’t have the name recognition of a Whitey Bulger, like here in the states, but he is a big name in his native Scotland.
The action starts back in the 1960s, when a very young Ferris is bullied by a neighborhood street gang, who made his life a daily hell. But Ferris doesn’t forget. He gets even with every one of them, eventually.
The pacing is good, the action is intense and Martin Compston does a good job as the adult Paul “The Wee Man” Ferris, a soldier of the streets who eventually works for two rival gang bosses.
One nice feature on the DVD: it automatically plays with subtitles (which can be turned off in settings) for those who just can’t get the hang of some of that hard to understand Scottish brogue.
Gangster will be available in DVD and VOD, July 22.
The violence continues in Infliction (Virgil Films) a fiction tale of two brothers who calmly record all of their gruesome crimes in one of those “found footage” films not unlike The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield.
Both creepy and riveting, if you like the psycho genre of films, Infliction will get your attention. And probably keep you up at night.
All of the story is captured by the brothers, who even have cameras in their car, as they document their murder spree in North Carolina in 2011.
This is a low budget affair, but that helps the overall creep factor in many horror films, including this one. It’s a no-name cast, and again, that is a plus with most films of this kind
Directed by Jack Thomas (who also wrote the screenplay), it is seriously twisted as well.
If you can’t find Infliction at your retailer, look for it online at several on demand sites.
It is a different kind of violence in Bloody Sunday (Warner Archive Collection), the critically acclaimed docudrama and an Audience Award winner at Sundance, a startling look at the events about the 1972 “Bloody Sunday” shootings in Derry, Northern Ireland. The film is told through the eyes of Ivan Cooper, a member of the Northern Island Parliament and a central organizer of a civil rights march in Derry. The march ended when British Army paratroopers fired on the demonstrators, killing thirteen instantly. One more died later from his wounds.
It is a heartbreaking film, to say the least.
Of note: There is only one song on the soundtrack, U2’s classic “Sunday, Bloody, Sunday,” which plays over the closing credits.
Bloody Sunday is directed by Paul Greengrass, who also directed the harrowing Sept. 11, 2001 film, United 93. Greengrass has also directed The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Supremacy and Captain Phillips.
Bloody Sunday is available for order online only as part of the Warner Archive Collection at www.warnerachive.com.
Each Friday in July, cable channel TCM has focused its entire night lineup on the 100th anniversary of World War I. Next Friday, July 25, the series concludes. Throughout the month, TCM has in observance of the centenary of World War I, which lasted from July 1914 to November 1918, featured guest host retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, a veteran of 34 years in the Army and the Department of Defense.
The spotlight movies reflect views of the First World War as seen by filmmakers through the decades.
From the TCM release: King Vidor’s The Big Parade (1925), released only seven years after the war’s end, takes an unflinching look at the horrors of war as experienced by an American soldier (John Gilbert). Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) makes a powerful anti-war statement in another story about the travails of a young soldier–this one a German (Lew Ayres). In Howard Hawks’ Sergeant York (1941), Gary Cooper plays Alvin York, a former pacifist from Tennessee who became the most decorated soldier of WWI.
Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory (1957) tells the powerful story of a French colonel (Kirk Douglas) who goes against his better judgment in following orders to lead his men in a suicide mission against the Germans. David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962) follows the colorful real-life exploits of T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole), the flamboyant British officer who fought alongside Arabs in their revolt against the Turks during WWI. Peter Weir’s Gallipoli (1981) tells of two idealistic young friends (one of them played by Mel Gibson) who join the Australian Army during the war and fight in Turkey in the ill-fated Battle of Gallipoli.
Check out the films next Friday, as the film event concludes.