Review: “Sabotage”


Arnold Schwarzenegger sure isn’t getting any younger.

At 66 years old, the action star keeps the hits coming with “Sabotage”, another ensemble film like “The Expendables” but with much younger co-stars.

“Sabotage” is a crime thriller about a DEA task force that faces unintended consequences after stealing $10 million from a drug cartel. The film features a long list of recognizable faces from Terrence Howard to Josh Holloway and even Sam Worthington, finally returning to an action film set in our universe.

John “Breacher” Wharton (Schwarzenegger) is the leader of an elite team of DEA hitters who steal $10 million in drug money after a big bust. As you can imagine, this leads to the team making enemies in the DEA, the cartel and even within their own ranks.

In case “Breacher” isn’t a manly enough nickname for you, there’s also “Sugar” (Howard), “Neck” (Holloway), “Monster” (Worthington) and “Grinder” (Joe Manganiello). Feel free to borrow any of those next time you’re at Laser Quest. Sadly missing a cool name is Lizzy (Mireille Enos of AMC’s “The Killing”) who is the lone female on the team and, by far, its craziest member.

Though the trailer makes the team across as a family, its really just a roomful of crazy characters who are insanely hard to care about. Hardly five minutes goes by where the majority of them aren’t drunk or high and at each other’s throats. The only members of the team who feel remotely human are Breacher and Monster but even considering them, the only likeable people in the film are the pair of investigators (Olivia Williams and Harold Perrineau) looking into the deaths of these DEA agents.

Along with mostly unlikeable characters, the script is a complete mess. Is this a revenge film, a film about corruption in the War on Drugs, both? The themes and character motivations are all over the place and, after watching the finale, you wonder if the filmmakers even knew what kind of film they wanted to make. Since director David Ayer has had a pretty good track record so far (“Training Day”, “End of Watch”, etc.), it’s probably safe to say that the majority of the film’s problems fall on Skip Woods’ head. Seriously, check out the guy’s IMDB page where you’ll find award-winning screenplays for “Swordfish” and “The A-Team”. To be fair, though, Ayer has had a couple of turkeys as well.

For whatever reason, “Sabotage” is a complete mess when it comes to its storyline and, more unforgivably for this kind of film, is utterly boring during the second act. Considering this is where most of the story takes place, that’s not a great thing.

There are two main reasons why one could enjoy “Sabotage”: the action sequences are pretty cool and Arnold Schwarzenegger gives one of his best performances in years. The latter actually makes the film a little worse because you can imagine the potential for the story.

“Sabotage” isn’t a horrible film, but the cast deserved a better script and the director is capable of delivering a much better product. All in all, a disappointment.

Grade: C-

Happy viewing. (Especially if you’re excited about “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”!)


2 thoughts on “Review: “Sabotage”

  1. Good review Will. I’m sorry, but I absolutely hated this movie. Don’t know what it was, but it seemed like every decision that Ayer made with this material was a bad one.

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