Rental Central

Times Columnist

July 24, 2014

Three recent flicks and two older series promised hours of entertainment for those wishing to beat the July heat.

“Sabotage” — Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this gritty thriller from the maker of “Training Day.” The film follows a DEA team who begin to fracture under the pressure of a corruption investigation. Things escalate when members of the group start getting murdered, and it becomes clear that they have a traitor in their ranks. Good, low-key action that further demonstrates a different direction for this second career of Schwarzenegger’s, following a two-term respite as the Governator.

“Transcendence” — Johnny Depp stars here as a genius in the field of artificial intelligence. He is a complete techno-tyrant and his haters consider him a danger to human kind (who are already losing their jobs to machines). A group of demonstrators accidentally injure him and his dream comes true when he is uploaded into his own computer network, where he threatens to become omnipotent.

“All Cheerleaders Die” — Lucky McKee has made some gut-wrenching horror movies (“The Woman”), but here he tones it down a little to great effect. You get a group of high school girls out to deflate the egos of the football team, but their plan goes way south when a supernatural element is introduced. Think of a mix between “Heathers” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and you are on the right track. Fun with great bursts of snarky humor.

“Hercules” and “Xena” — Season 5 of these fantasy/action programs hit DVD at an affordable price. By the fifth season, these shows had hit full gallop and were delivering smart action dramas on a weekly basis. Look for bigger storylines and well executed action sequences, as the characters fight mythical beasts and colorful villains. Great stuff that also mixes in plenty of humor.