Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest film, Sabotage, hits theaters today in the United States. The film, which is getting decent reviews, is about the head of a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) whose members are viciously killed and mutilated after a cartel bust. Schwarzenegger plays the lead character. But in promoting the film, the aging action star and former Republican Governor of California defended the high levels of violence by taking a shot at video games.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Schwarzenegger defended "brutal violence" in movies by comparing them to violent video games.
"It's a bit of an homage to the films that I grew up on, and directors like Brian De Palma, and Walter Hill and Sam Peckinpah who made very brutal kind of masculine movies. I think violence is political now: 'maybe if there is no violence in movies, there will be no violence in the world.' I don't believe that. The video games our children play are much, much more violent than anything in this movie."
This statement is interesting and ironic on several levels, but it falls in line with Schwarzenegger's long-standing views on video games. After all, he signed California Senator Leland Yee's 2005 anti-game legislation into law and publicly endorsed it. Lee is currently under indictment for multiples bribery and corruption charges.
It's also ironic because Schwarzenegger is smart enough to know that the same demographic that might play Call of Duty, Titanfall, Grand Theft Auto V, or Battlefield, will be keenly interested in seeing his new film. It's the reason that he appeared on the WWE's flagship program Monday Night RAW earlier this week alongside wrestling icon Hulk Hogan to promote the film.
I wonder if he would have the same opinion on violent video games if there was a Sabotage video game to accompany the release of his latest film…