A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that action movie Sabotage stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and is arguably the most violent Schwarzenegger movie ever made. It has many shootings, killings, and an enormous amount of blood, gushing, spraying, and pooling, as well as guts and other body parts. It has very strong, constant sexual innuendo of all sorts in addition to some female toplessness, implied sex, and sex with more than one partner. Language is also very strong and quite constant with special attention given to the words "f--k," "s--t," and "ass." One of the major supporting characters is shown to have a drug problem, and most of the major characters are shown drinking, and sometimes drunk, throughout the movie. All this aside, it's a fairly intelligent, well-written, realistic movie with a good mystery story, but for adults only.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
DEA agent "Breacher" Wharton (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is in charge of a loose-cannon group of undercover agents whose unorthodox methods have been known to bring down powerful drug lords. During one bust, they uncover a huge pile of money and arrange to steal $10 million of it. Unfortunately, when they return to the money's hiding place, it's gone. Some months later, members of the team begin to turn up murdered in gruesome ways, leading the survivors to believe that dangerous cartel members are looking for revenge. But when police investigator Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) comes on the scene, and three dead bodies are found in a lake, it casts a new light on who the killer might be, and why.
Is it any good?
Sabotage is a combination of harsh realism and old-fashioned cop movie staples, albeit with a bit of a mystery thrown in. Director David Ayer wrote the screenplay for Training Day and directed End of Watch, suggesting that this is a man who knows his way around a story about cops and drug dealers. The movie's sharply, smartly written, and takes place in a world that feels lived-in.
Where the movie potentially steps wrong is in its intense depiction of bloody violence and brutal gore. Seemingly, Ayer is attempting to illustrate just how dangerous this world is, but it comes across as more sensational, like a horror film, and fairly exhausting. It interferes slightly with the rhythms of what might have been a solid mystery story. Yet the cast, setting, and pacing pull it together in the end. Schwarzenegger in particular has really found an interesting character to play.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence. Why might the filmmakers have chosen to make it so intense and bloody? How do you think they want the audience to react?
Why do these characters drink so much? What would be the real-life consequences of the drinking and drug use depicted in the movie?
Is Arnold Schwarzenegger a good role model here? Has he been a good role model in his other films or in real life?
- In theaters: March 28, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: July 22, 2014
- Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia Williams, Terrence Howard
- Director: David Ayer
- Studio: Open Road Films
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 109 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
- Last updated: May 25, 2020
Our editors recommend
For kids who love action and drama
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch