Directed by: David Ayer
In this latest outing by the former Governator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is John “Breacher” Wharton, the head of an elite DEA taskforce that specializes in kicking butt and not taking names. His taskforce is charged with taking on the world’s deadliest drug cartels. On their most recent op, the team successfully executes a high-stakes raid on a cartel safe house. During the course of the raid, the team breaks into the cartel’s money room and (inexplicable) make off with some $10 million of the cartel’s stash (they peal it off the top, bag it, and toss it down a drain), only when they go back to collect the cash, it is gone. This is followed by six months of intense scrutiny by the FBI who want to know where the 10 Mil went. Eventually, Breacher and his team are exonerated.
Unfortunately, no sooner are they cleared when one of their number is killed in an apparent accident (he wakes up after a bender in his Winnebago which is parked on a train track and gets itself run over by an oncoming speeding train). Because of the unusual nature of the accident it is assigned to a local hard-boiled homicide detective (Olivia Williams) who begins to piece together the possibility that this isn’t an accident, especially after a second member of the team dies (this guy was literally nailed to the ceiling of his house). When evidence connects the two deaths, suddenly everyone starts coming to the conclusion that it is the Cartel that is coming after the team for knocking over their safe house and torching all of their cash.
While this film is certainly high on the action, gore, and body count, and attempts to harken back to the heady days of Schwarzenegger’s gung-ho salad days of the mid ‘80s, and while we are certainly glad to see the Governator back in action (in a longer form appearance than his all-too-brief cameos in Stallone’s Expendables series), however, one can clearly see that he is most definitely showing his age in this film. Further, this is so a much darker film than any of his pre-political film career.
The characters are all one-dimensional jar-headed, misogynist, testosterone thugs who drink hard, shoot people, and blow stuff up. To be sure, the ending is something of a surprise, but still, in spite of all the guns, and hi-octane action and thrills, this is still not really the Schwarzenegger we remember, he is darker, harsher, less humorous, and even the direction of the film is truly something different than we are really used to — much of which is very off-putting, causing us to wonder how much longer he can continue to do films like this.
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.