Plot: Members of an elite DEA task force find themselves being taken down one by one after they bust into a drug cartel safe house.
Review: This seems to be the year for a lot of 80s action stars to make a comeback. After completing his second term as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger has finally decided to come back to the industry that made him famous. With the news that Arnie would be back for the newest installment of the Terminator, as well as the Expendables 3 and Maggie coming this year, the buzz around him has not been quiet. His latest film, “Sabotage”, stars Schwarzenegger doing what he does best. Unfortunately for him, the movie is not a great way to start him off.
“Sabotage” centers on an undercover DEA team sent into recover a ton of money from a drug cartel. When John Breacher (played by Schwarzenegger) and his team decide to dip into the honey pot themselves, things go from bad to worse. First they lose one of their squad trying to get the money and then when they come back for it the money is missing and they get ousted by the DEA for the missing money (which is kind of absurd seeing how Schwarzenegger blows up the entire contents of the cash). So jump six months and the case against Breacher and his team is closed and they are sent back into the field, though in the film they are never given an actual assignment. Soon members of the team begin to die one by one in what seems like a great ten little Indians mystery film. Unfortunately, the director never really plays into the mystery aspect of the film and instead goes for an over the top bro fest that stops this movie from being great.
The lineup of actors in this film is great which is really disappointing because they are given very little material on which to act upon. Schwarzenegger does his best in terms of acting and killing but you can tell he is getting on in years as most of the action is centered on his teammates. Josh Holloway, Terrance Howard and Joe Manganiello are great actors on their own rights but here they play little more than steroided out meat heads who make piss and sex jokes that aren’t even that funny or new. The one girl on the team, Lizzy (played by Mireile Enos) even comes off as little more than a bro too, with no real emotion played into it. Really the only actor who seemed to be given any actual acting scenes was Sam Worthington, who actually has some real emotion and dialogue than the rest of the cast. Really other than him most of the team is almost indistinguishable from one another with nick names that are not even fully explained or make any sense.
After the team starts dying one by one an investigator, Caroline Brentwood (played by Olivia Williams) is put on the case to try and figure out what exactly is going on, which is hard cause she is stopped every time by red tape. Williams does an ok job with the role but her southern accent was unnecessary and a bit distracting. It is also hard to believe in her and Breachers’ chemistry, mostly because there is so very little to begin with.
Now this film is not the worst movie I’ve seen this year (I’m looking at you Legend of Hercules) it is just a very mediocre one. David Ayer has never let me down with any of his earlier films, from “Training Day” to “Harsh Times” and “End Of Watch”, Ayer has proven that he knows how to make cop movies that are grounded in reality and at times Sabotage has that same feel but then it is quickly taken away by scenes that have Skip Woods’ fingerprints all over it. For those who do not who Skip Woods is, here are a few of his films; “Wolverine: Origins”, “Hitman”, and “A Good Day To Die Hard”. If you have seen any of those films you will more than likely get where I’m going with this. The film suffers because of it.
Like I said, this is not the worst film I have seen (I can’t stress how bad “Legend of Hercules” was) but I still expected better from Arnold Schwarzenegger and David Ayer. If they had stuck with the murder mystery the film had set up I feel it would have had a great impact instead of the gore fest it becomes. Even the reveal of who took the money is lazy and unmemorable. I’m not one who’s opposed to gore in films, I just like the killings to have a bit more story to back up the gore. It is lacking that emotional hook and instead of making the audience feel the weight of the gruesome deaths like Caroline does (which include being pulverized in a RV by a train and getting nailed to a ceiling) it comes off like they wanted to the audience to feel the same way the DEA team does, which is to say not at all.
Give “Sabotage” a chance if you like blood and gore soaked fests with no real substance, but don’t go in expecting the same impact that “Training Day” and “End Of Watch” had. I will say though, welcome back Arnie, I cannot wait to see what is in store for you next. 6/10.