Since his return to acting, Arnold Schwarzenegger has spent his time either riffing on his action star image and/or winking at the audience in 1980s throwback fare like The Expendables 2 and Escape Plan, along with the genre-blending The Last Stand. However, in the upcoming thriller Sabotage (formerly, Ten), Arnold will be dropping the self-deprecating act and getting serious, by transforming himself into crusty DEA elite task force leader John ‘Breacher’ Wharton

Wharton, with his rugged squad of guns-blazing agents (and armed with an unflattering haircut), scores a major victory, by taking down a powerful Mexican drug cartel and stealing millions of dollars from the organization. However, when $10 million of the stash goes missing, Breacher and his crew immediately fall under suspicion. Even worse, someone begins to hunt down and kill each member of his task force, one by one – but is it a Cartel employee? Or could it be one of the people within Breacher’s tight-knit “family”?

The Sabotage trailer packs a fair amount of drug house busting, gunfire, brutal violence and penis jokes together into two and a half minutes. In addition, it shows that some of Arnold’s costars – like Sam Worthington (Avatar), Terrence Howard (Prisoners), Josh Holloway (Battle of the Year), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Mireille Enos (World War Z) and Harold Perrineau (The Best Man Holiday) – have also undergone physical appearance transformations of their own.

Meanwhile, Olivia Williams (Anna Karenina) shows up to add some class to the rough proceedings, as she portrays an investigator trying to figure out who’s knocking Arnold’s team off.

Sabotage was co-written and directed by David Ayer (Street Kings, End of Watch), who brings his years of experience making gritty crime procedurals and police dramas to the project. Clearly, this action film is far more grounded and raw than your average Schwarzenegger macho-fest (read: no cheesy one-liners), with Ayer having told MTV last year that “[Arnold’s] playing a real guy, a real guy in the real world. [Quips are] not how I roll.”

That’s all good and dandy, but Sabotage – partially inspired by the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery And Then There Were None – was also written by Skip Woods, whose resume includes winners like Swordfish, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and most recently, A Good Day to Die Hard. Woods’ scripts, at the best, tend to be passable cornball thrillers; at worst, borderline incoherent and vapid action movies that play out as unintentional self-parody.

Ayer, as mentioned before, did enough work on Woods’ original script draft to earn a co-writing credit, but will that be enough to save Sabotage from mediocrity? Possibly, but this is one of two 2014 releases from Ayer, with the other being the WWII thriller Fury, starring Brad Pitt – and judging by the early signs (see: Ayer is the sole writer and director on Fury), it may be the latter that he’s poured most of his passion into making.

Sabotage opens in U.S. theaters on April 11th, 2014.

Source: Yahoo! Movies

‘Sabotage’ image via USA Today