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Schwarzenegger can’t quite pull off dark and serious in ‘Sabotage’

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Arnold heads up a squad of badass DEA agents who steal $10 million from a drug cartel in Sabotage.

Two and a half stars

Sabotage Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia Williams, Mireille Enos. Directed by David Ayer. Rated R. Opens Friday.

David Ayer knows his corrupt cops. The director and/or writer of Training Day, Dark Blue, Street Kings and End of Watch has made a career out of depicting law enforcement officers with murky moral codes, and Sabotage, which Ayer directed and co-wrote, is another story of (sort of) good guys gone (sort of) bad. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s John “Breacher” Wharton heads up a squad of badass DEA agents, who find themselves targeted for elimination after they steal $10 million from a drug cartel.

Sabotage is unusually dark and serious for a Schwarzenegger vehicle, but the star doesn’t quite have the acting chops to pull off the moral gray areas. The rest of the cast (including a bizarrely accented Olivia Williams) is inconsistent, and Ayer throws in so many luxurious close-ups of bloody wounds that it sometimes seems like he’s making a Saw movie. If he were, at least the late-breaking plot twists might be more convincing.

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