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Review: Sabotage (2014)

 

Director: David Ayer Sabotage-Poster

Writers: Skip WoodsDavid Ayer

Stars: Arnold SchwarzeneggerSam WorthingtonTerrence Howard

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With any movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger you can always guarantee assurance. We, as the audience, are assured of an all-round, entertaining movie with fights, guns and explosions. After all, it’s an Arnie film, isn’t it? Such is that with Sabotage that it plays to the many strengths of Mr. Schwarzenegger. There are no signs of any Oscar winning performances at all, but there are guns and lots of them.

Arnold plays John “Breacher” Wharton, a maverick who heads up the DEA special tasks force given the job of taking out drug cartels and getting something back in return. During one particular raid, they uncover a pile of money and put aside €10million of that for themselves which they stash in plastic bags and quite unceremoniously plunge down the pipe from the toilet into the sewers. After the last of the bad guys are wiped out, the team head into the pipes to retrieve the money only to find out that it’s no longer there. To add to their woes, it seems the drugs cartel whom they thought they wiped out are aware they stole the money and slowly start picking off each member of the team one by one.

David Ayer, of Harsh Times and Street Kings fame, has handled and controlled a script that he co-wrote and directed it much in a similar vain to his previous work and you cannot criticise him for that as it works. The script, at times, can be up and down with dialogue often written for the sheer hell of it as each knuckle-headed member of Arnie’s task force has to have their say and get as many “muthafuckers” in as possible. Ayer’s co-written script has that roller coaster effect of starting well and then dipping somewhat as the story begins to struggle for pace, but then, unexpectedly, the final third rockets us upwards and we’re fired at speed through twists and turns as the story starts to pan out and what we are left with can be described as enjoyable and worth the wait.

One of the highlights of Sabotage is the appearance of an almost unrecognisable Sam Worthington, of Avatar fame, who sports shaven head (complete with tattoos) and a tiny goatee beard (complete with plait). Worthington looked to somewhat enjoy his portrayal of his character “Monster”, but there was clear evidence of his acting abilities as well as his rugged action feature to go with it. His wife, the drug riddled Lizzy, played by World War Z’s Mireille Enos showed signs of potential, but occasionally consisted of some over-the top acting that just needed reeling in slightly. Terence Howard supports with extra muscle from Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway and Kevin Vance. Olivia Williams (Hyde Park on Hudson & The Sixth Sense) is the detective assigned to work the case who ends up working alongside “Breacher”

When Arnold Schwarzenegger opted to take a break from movies to concentrate on his political career there was a void left in all of our action-loving hearts and since returning, despite the difficulties in succeeding the popularity of his 1980’s hits, we all agree that he has been missed.

Trailer:

Feature: Keeping Up With The Culkins

It’s hard to imagine that it has been almost 25 years since a ten year old boy appeared on our screens in a scene whereby he applies his father’s aftershave to his face and then reacts to the sting caused by the fluid on his skin. It was a role that would change Macaulay Culkin’s career and indeed his life, but not generally for the better.

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Home Alone was a turning point for the young actor.  It made over $285,000,000 in the US alone and spawned a sequel in 1992 which didn’t do as well as its predecessor, but still earned big.  Culkin himself went on to become a huge child star in Hollywood and unfortunately for him his success also caused his downfall.

Macaulay Culkin is one of many siblings born to Christopher Culkin and Patricia Brentrup. He is the third oldest of seven children all of whom share the showbiz gene in varying degrees of quantity. Macaulay, or “Mac” as he is sometimes known, got his first big film role alongside John Candy in the 1989 movie Uncle Buck, but it is his debut lead role in Home Alone that he is best known.  He was typecast in the child star void thereafter appearing in a series of family movies such as My Girl (1991), Getting Even with Dad (1994), The Pagemaster (1994) and Richie Rich (1994) before it all started to turn sour.

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In 1995 Macaulay’s parents, who were never married, split and a lengthy legal battle began over the custody of the children and rights to Macaulay’s fortune. It was during this period of time that he burnt out and vowed to quit acting until his parents settled the court case. The case itself wasn’t resolved until 1997. Culkin’s friendship with pop star Michael Jackson also came into question when allegations were made against Jackson for improper behaviour with children. It is suggested that Culkin’s relationship with Jackson was purely a friendship and nothing else. Culkin appeared in the video for Michael Jackson’s 1991 hit “Black or White”. Macaulay married fellow actress Rachel Milner in 1998, but the marriage only last two years as Milner wanted to start a family, but Culkin was more interested in getting back into acting.

The move back into acting was to be a difficult one for Culkin. Tarred with the “Child Star” brush he found roles difficult to come by and despite a stint on the West End in 2001 his next big role was the “comeback” role in 2003’s Party Monster in which he portrayed a cross dressing club promoter. It was the serious, dark role that had been hoped would reignite his career, but with the movie only receiving average reviews the comeback road had just stumbled across a detour. During the filming of Party Monster Culkin started a relationship with the then pretty much unknown Mila Kunis. It was a relationship which lasted for six years and unlike Kunis’ career, didn’t blossom much after that.

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In 2004 Culkin was arrested for drug possession. He was jailed briefly before paying $4,000 for bail.  In court he pleaded not guilty, but quickly reverted his plea to guilty. He received three one year suspended prison terms and had to pay a further $540 in fees. The continued downward spiral of not only his career, but his life resulted in drugs and alcohol with many fearing for his life as he kept on the road to self destruction. It was ex-girlfriend Mila Kunis that attempted to get him into rehab, an act which ultimately failed.

Since Party Monster Culkin has made the odd appearance in episodes of Television Series and straight to DVD movies. More recently he recreated the character of Kevin McAllister for popular comedy series “Robot Chicken”, but aside from that he has never rekindled that scene stealing performance that he did as a ten year old. But, with a rumoured fortune of $17 million in the bank, he can probably afford not to act if he chooses.

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To this day Macaulay Culkin still wears a mysterious cover. Last year he was seen on YouTube filming himself in a room eating pizza in a bizarre promotion for cover band The Pizza Underground (covering songs from The Velvet Underground, but changing the lyrics to pizza references).

Towards the end of 2014 there were rumours that Macaulay Culkin had died, but the reports later transpired into being a hoax with the former star taking to social network Twitter to post a series of images, one of which replicating 80’s movie, “Weekend at Bernie’s” with band mates from The Pizza Underground. For now, music appears to be his passion and his attention is focused solely on that, but many sense there could be more twists in “Mac’s” life.

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Macaulay Culkin is one of seven children. His sibling’s lives have taken different turns…

 

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Shane Culkin (38)

Shane is the eldest of the Culkin children and his flirtation with the arts was brief only scoring an appearance in American TV’s “Great Performances” a show dedicated solely to the Performing Arts. The idea of the show was to display performances in acting, staging sections of plays, but over the years the focus has been more on music.

Shane no longer performs acting. There is not a great deal that is known about his whereabouts to this day opting for a quieter life out of the spotlight.

 

Dakota Culkin (1978 – 2008, 30)

Dakota Culkin wanted a career in Hollywood, but to work behind the camera as opposed to being in front of it. Quite a humble, warming character, Dakota had worked as an Art Production Assistant on an independent project called “Lost Soul”. Tragedy struck in December 2008 as Dakota was killed as she stepped out into the road in LA and was hit by a car. She was rushed to hospital, but had received major head injuries which she sadly died from the next day. The Culkin’s refrained from publicly grieving over the death of their sister, instead opting for a more private bereavement.

 

Kieran Culkin       Kieran Culkin                                                

Kieran Culkin was the first of the Culkin siblings to show real potential following Macaulay’s success in front of the camera. His first role came as the cute cousin of Macaulay Culkin’s character in Home Alone and its sequel, Home Alone 2.

One of his first major roles was in the 1998 movie, “The Mighty” in which he played Kevin Dillon the young boy suffering from Morquio syndrome who befriends an oversized, dyslexic who suffers at the hands of bullies. It was a performance which earned Kieran his first nomination for Young Artist award for best performance in a feature film.

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He followed that up with the role of Buster in “The Cider House Rules” (1999) in which he received a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance. The roles then began to dry up and his appearance were minor roles until 2002 when he played the lead role in “Igby Goes Down”, a comedy drama centered around a teenager trying to break free of his wealthy and overbearing mother. It was a role that really displayed his capability as an actor receiving two nominations for best actor in the process. In 2010 he starred alongside fellow actor, Michael Cera in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”

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Kieran’s acting career then diverted to the stage in various guises which saw him perform at the Sidney Opera House in 2012 in a production of “This is Our Youth”. More recently Kieran can be seen in a segment of the 2013 movie “Movie 43” and is to appear in an episode of the second season of “Fargo” due to screen later this year.

Unlike his brother, Kieran has managed to steer clear from the public eye focusing his attention more on his career. Kieran was quoted once as saying “I certainly had a better, less hectic life than Mac. He took all the pressure at home and on movie sets. My dad basically left me alone because I wasn’t making enough money to warrant his scrutiny.” A bitter, scathing attack on his father, but it was Mac’s rise to fame that favoured Kieran who was able to allow his acting ability to shine.

 

Quinn Culkin

Quinn Culkin is the second daughter of the Culkin family. She, much like her older brother Shane, have not had the levels of fame that brothers Mac, Kieran and Rory have had. She scored a role in the 1993 movie “The Good Son” playing the sister of Macaulay’s character, Henry. Prior to that she had a voiceover role in the 1991 animated TV series “Wish Kid”. It was to be a very brief stint in acting for Quinn and she no longer acts.

 

Christian Culkin

Christian Culkin’s only screen credit appearance was in the 1994 movie “It Runs in the Family” alongside brother Kieran. It was to be another brief stint in acting for the young Culkin member.

 

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One of Rory’s first even screen appearances was as a younger Richie in the 1994 movie “Richie Rich” in which older brother Macaulay played the title role. He also played a younger version of Igby in the 2002 movie “Igby Goes Down”, but it was another breakthrough performance later that year in which the world would wake up and take notice.

IMG_0496In 2002 Rory starred alongside Hollywood great Mel Gibson in the    paranormal thriller “Signs” as Morgan Hess. It was a movie that grossed $407,900,000 worldwide and in which he produced such a naturally graceful performance. His roles since then have been relatively low-key, choosing to avoid mainstream cinema and opting for more indie roles until he was cast as Charlie Walker in horror franchise, “Scream 4”. His last role to date was a move back to his preferred roots in the 2014 movie “Gabriel” in which he takes the title role as a young man with mental issues trying to get over the suicide of his father. It is a performance some are saying is his best. Rory’s life won’t be getting much quieter though with plenty more work still in the pipeline.

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Much like his brother Kieran, Rory has ensured he kept out of the limelight. Whether that was through choice having witnessed what Macaulay experienced or that the attention has been taken away from them, it has probably worked in their favour. For Rory it is about the art and not about the success or fame and he has never been alone on the journey with his brothers Kieran and Macaulay both offering him advice when he needs it.

 

So, with Kieran and Rory both representing the Culkin name in the world of film will there ever be the big comeback that Macaulay had hoped for or will he continue on the new path that has been set before him?

 

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