Arnold Schwarzenegger is back at the top of the action movie genre, as his movie Sabotage is holding the number 2 spot on Netflix at the time of this writing. Sabotage was released in 2014 and was a commercial flop at the time. Now, it looks like it may be finding some redemption.
Movie fans may be experiencing a strange form of deja vu if they've seen Schwarzenegger at the top of today's movie list on Netflix. The actor was one of the defining stars of the 1980s, but he retired from acting around 2005. After serving as Governor of California, Schwarzenegger returned to the big screen in 2011 and has been mildly active since. That includes Sabotage — a loose adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None, directed and co-written by David Ayer.
Sabotage grossed just $22.1 million on a budget of $35 million, making it an objective flop from a filmmaking standpoint. Still, critics tended to praise Schwarzenegger's performance a few other stars, even as they condemned the "grueling violence" of the movie. Schwarzenegger shared the screen with Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello and Josh Holloway, among others.
The movie is about a "special operations team" within the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA SOT), which is accused of stealing money from a drug cartel rather than turning it in. Several of the team members then turn up dead, murdered in horrific ways, apparently by the cartel. The movie follows Schwarzenegger's attempts to get to the bottom of the killings.
Critics decried the movie's savage violence, which most felt had no purpose, and its uninterrogated political overtones considering its focus on police and international drug cartels. Many also felt that it fell short of its promise to riff on Christie's mystery story. Chicago Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper wrote: "This brutal, bloody, dark and at times gruesomely funny thriller isn't some David Fincher-esque mood piece where all the clues come together at the end. It's more like a modern-day, Georgia version of a spaghetti Western."
Still, for some reason, a huge audience is resonating with the movie this week on Netflix, just days after it was added to the catalog. Schwarzenegger is certainly responsible for part of that success since so many critics highlighted his performance as one of the high points of the movie. The Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus even says: "Sabotage boasts one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's finer post-political performances."
Sabotage is streaming now on Netflix. Schwarzenegger has five more projects in the works at the time of this writing.