UK Release Date: 7th May 2014
Runtime: 109 minutes
Director: David Ayer
Writer: David Ayer, Skip Woods
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia Williams, Joe Manganiello, Terrence Howard, Sam Worthington, Mireille Enos
Synopsis: When a crack DEA team steals money from a ruthless drug cartel, they soon find themselves being brutally picked off one by one.
David Ayer’s beautifully written buddy cop movie End of Watch was the best film of 2012. So, on paper, a team-up between Ayer and cinematic legend Arnold Schwarzenegger ought to have been a recipe for an absolute stormer of an action movie. Unfortunately, Sabotage doesn’t live up to that promise.
Breacher (Schwarzenegger) is the leader of a team of DEA agents with the most manly names in the world, who regularly get the best of the cartels. They take it too far on one occasion when they steal money from one of the gangs, leading to violent and bloody reprisals. As the bodies pile up, homicide investigator Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) discovers this isn’t a straightforward case.
End of Watch benefited from being something genuinely different for the cop drama. Sabotage suffers by being a cookie cutter blokey action movie in every way. From the first frame to the last, this is Arnie shouting and shooting at things, accompanied by men with aggressive names and even more aggressive trigger fingers.
| "Some of us are getting paid; the rest of us are just getting dead."
The film is entirely devoid of any subtlety. This is evidenced by a truly wacky plot that has implausibility pouring from every gunshot wound. Characters are killed in gory, unemotional fashion as the procedure unfolds in the least interesting way possible. By the time the third act double crosses and triple crosses are over, Sabotage has well and truly disappeared in a haze of muzzle smoke.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, despite his remarkable action pedigree, gives one of his worst performances in years. He tries really hard to deliver the banter-heavy lines of Ayer and Skip Woods’ script, but he comes off as even more robotic than The Terminator.
| "In what we do, there is only trust."
The saddest thing is that, based on the beer-swilling charisma vacuums that populate the rest of Sabotage, Arnie is arguably the strongest actor amongst them. In fact, it’s only a delightfully feral Mireille Enos that really provides any joy to the film at all.
Sabotage is a dismal movie from people who have already proven that they are capable of far more.
Pop or Poop?
Sabotage is, in many ways, caught between two stalls. On one hand, it wants to be a gritty David Ayer movie and, on the other, it is committed to being another shooty Schwarzenegger romp.
The acting is woeful, the plot preposterous and the script is about as bad as they come.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.