Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Sabotage Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Extremely violent Schwarzenegger flick with drugs, language.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 109 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The main thrust of the entire plot is revenge. The central characters are a group of undercover DEA agents who claim to operate as a "family," but never seem to trust one another. They create an incredible wake of violence, and are prone to stealing, drinking, drugs, and generally poor behavior. However, there are consequences. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though technically the good guys, the main characters of this movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger included, are not heroes to be emulated. They are violent, destructive, reckless, argumentative, and generally behave poorly.


This may be the most violent Schwarzenegger movie ever made, complete with guns and shooting, stabbings, several bloody, gory dead bodies, blood sprays, blood gurgles, and pools of blood. We also see a few minutes of footage wherein a woman is tied up, cut, and tortured while she cries out for help. (We learn through dialogue, that bits of her skin, and her face, were mailed back to her husband.) There are bloody auto crashes, with body parts and organs thrown around the crash scenes. Innocent bystanders are killed.


Very strong, very frequent sexual innuendo, with spoken references to people having sex with animals, people having sex with a "tranny," and many other references. A scene takes place in a strip club, with one topless woman shown, as well as several other sexy dancers. At a party, two women kiss on a bed, and a breast is shown. A man prepares to have sex with a woman; she produces a condom and he tosses it away, saying he wants her "raw." One of the major female characters is married and is said to have slept with another man. The main character has a kissing scene, with implied sex. A stripper (clothed) is hired for a party.


"F--k" and "s--t" are used quite liberally and frequently throughout. Other words heard include "p---y," "ass," "hell," "bitch," "dick," "piss," and one use of "Jesus Christ."


A Netflix rental envelope is shown. An Apple computer, with logo, is shown. A bottle of Gnarly Head cabernet sauvignon wine is clearly displayed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main characters are DEA agents. One of them appears to have a drug problem. She is shown snorting cocaine while undercover, and tasting some liquid meth found in a crime scene. She is also shown swallowing a pill with a gulp of vodka. Otherwise, the rest of the main characters drink a great deal; they are frequently seen with bottles of beer in hand, and drunk more than once. The main character drinks whisky in several scenes, and another cop drinks wine in several scenes. The main character also smokes cigars, and another smokes a cigarette in one scene.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykela_theamasing November 24, 2019

A little interesting movie !

I consider this movie is OK !
I just liked the shootout scenes, other side of plot was not interesting.
No positive message !
I would recommend 5/10 .
Adult Written byNathan009876 January 17, 2015

Good, But Not For Faint Hearted

Good film. violence is very frequent. With strong threats and grapic shootouts it can be quite disturbing. Strong references of drugs and drug taking is feature... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old May 9, 2016

Incredibly graphic and violent action thriller is gory but great and brilliant.

This shocking and extremely violent drug movie resolves around a DEA agent named Breacher or John is in-charge of a team that is bent of taking down powerful dr... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bymissyp3773 January 10, 2015


This movie was ridiculous in every way. The storyline was lacking. There is no positive message. The violence was just extreme, excessive, and unnecessary as we... Continue reading

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and drama

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