Sabotage (2014)

Sabotage (2014)
  • Time: 109 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Drama
  • Director: David Ayer
  • Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard


In “Sabotage”, Arnold Schwarzenegger leads an elite DEA task force that takes on the world’s deadliest drug cartels. When the team successfully executes a high-stakes raid on a cartel safe house, they think their work is done – until, one-by-one, the team members mysteriously start to be eliminated. As the body count rises, everyone is a suspect.


  • (Rating: 3 / 5) Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have no luck, for the second time. While mid 90s-early 2000 both were at the crossroads of remain as perpetual stars of B-class action movies without the possibility of following in the real interest of the public, Stallone came up with the brilliant idea to revive his only two legendary figures Rocky and Rambo for a profitable sequels, and embarked on the most ambitious project and has given more credit financially, “The Expendables”. Schwarzenegger did not deal much in the early-mid 2000s because he sat for governor of California. You could rest assured that these heroes still had to eat. However, life has returned to punish them on their way to the veteran and worship, with failures like “Escape Plan”; “The Last Stand”; “Bullet To The Head” and this “Sabotage”. At first, the failure could be a more compelling reason for the very large campaign that involves a lot of figures participating in the upcoming film “The Expendables 3” (curiously leaving out Liam Nesson). Meanwhile, the confirmed rumor that the third installment of the expendables will be under the PG-13 rating

    But a review of “Sabotage” ultimately shows that the PG-13 would not be so bad. “Sabotage” is a mediocre film, but not in the sense of “Transformers” in which one can support the spectacular FX and bad story, but “Sabotage” is dangerously close to being a bad movie seriously. The reason for a fairly generous rating is because it could be considered more consistent with itself, unlike the colossal disaster of “In The Blood” featured Gina Carano. No doubt this latest Schwarzenegger film can maintain a sense of entertainment, and lacks the overheated intelligence of “Escape Plan” (which was not bad this pseudo-intelligence, but betrayed the rules of what a film with Stallone / Schwarzenegger should be), although the protagonist looks terribly old

    The misfire is that “Sabotage” is intended to be innovative and deviates for 3 points that do not match each other: wants to be an action film in the vein of Stallone / Schwarzenegger, wants to be a film in the vein of CSI, and wants to be a pseudo-exploration of the drug cartels. These three points do not match each other: to be an action film, the bloodshed should be deleted. Other films like “Die Hard” (containing the R into the MPAA rating) are inevitably violent but the amount of blood is not excessive simply because they are not needed. But here, excessive blood looks more like an added element, as if the director was a fan of special effects and flavored to his taste all bursts of bullets. Thus, for every successful shot, level of blood flows pretty, like a Z Class movie. This defect is partially corrected when addressing drug trafficking, where it is assumed that the drug mafia devoted to actually often use violent methods. But as drug trafficking film contains some nonsense and shootings own of a demagoguery action film, like psychobabble or mafia bosses (which have millions and millions of dollars) just have a handful of bodyguards, whereby they can be easily removed (as in the ending). And finally the need to match the level of a pseudo-CSI, with an impressive level of graphics about the bodies: for example, we see a kind of “stew” with body parts, due to a train wreck; or blood-drenched body in a refrigerator

    This genre disparity does not coincide rhythmically: after a moment of entertainment action, a total downer pulse produced by the police investigation. There are elements that are lukewarm, like a romance that lasts two seconds or coldness in interpersonal connections of the characters (they do not seem friends, there is no a lot of dynamics in the group led by the protagonist) who end up being serious flaws because ultimately instance “Sabotage” might be entertained by the actors. Are bizarre elements, like the protagonist watching a video of his wife being tortured with electric batons and shot to death, but not before telling the protagonist who loves him; thus sounds like an act sadistic by screenwriter. The police investigation is ok although the investigation level is 0 and Olivia Williams is inserted as a whim (she appears investigating a traffic accident when actually she is a homicide inspector) There are logic holes, such as the timed protagonist: ie, the villain could have ended with the protagonist at any time, even have been the first to die if we consider he is the most dangerous (is investigating the murderer, and has a cop friend). Also, when the villain is discover, this starts acting like a crazy, almost drooling for the desire to kill; what betrays the behavior coming exposing (So rapid the personality change? Well, this bug we have seen in “Taxi Driver”). Another cliché is that the motivations of the villain to kill the characters is too small against the seriousness of the murders

    But more overwhelming is the level of explicit violence for what should be a B-class movie action. See the Schwarzenegger action routines with the bad jokes mixed with blood baths and cold or clinical autopsies and snuff videos is, at least, a bizarre combination. It is an unnecessary excess of production, which only serves to spend extra dollars but it is too innovative and muddy against what is a film dedicated to fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is not Tarantino (a man who knows how to film this kind of nonsenses with talent and comic taste) or a horror film nor a movie like “Snowpiercer” (where brutality is filmed with much more virtuosity, as it should be for being awesome with taste), plus it is almost proved that Hollywood can not make decent movies about the drug without going into demagoguery, and this can apply to the same protagonist, which commits terrible acts but at the last moment the script justifies and almost glorifies the hyper-violent ending. Thus, as with the amount of films about the drug cartels, are Z-class productions camouflaged as valuable B-class movies [Occasionally there are stylized scenes interspersed, where we can see for example the gun firing in the foreground among other tricks that resemble a video game].

  • “Some of us are getting paid, the rest of us are just getting dead.”

    So, You thought that Schwarzenegger would eventually retire on an Austrian alp, sitting on a terrace of a mountain hut with a big bierpul of “Kaiser Bier” within reach and a huge cigar between his fleshy lips while looking out over the valley, saying with a deep voice “Ich habe es Ihnen gesagt: Ich komme wieder”. Or that he’s wearing a bermuda and a Hawaiian shirt while sitting somewhere at the coast of California, getting a tan and looking out over the ocean. Well you were wrong. This former Mr. Universe and former governor of California came back with a rather explicitly violent action film. After the average film “The Last Stand” and the reasonably successful “Escape Plan” in which he and his eternal rival Sylvester Stallone turn up, I thought that this action-hero would call it a day. His contribution to “the Expendables” is as ironic as the film was intended.

    But then they come up with this tough and bloody action movie in which John Wharton (Schwarzenegger) aka “Breacher” is in charge of a Special Operations Team that specializes in infiltrating criminal drug cartels. In another raid on a nest of drug traffickers, they manage to cram a portion of piled up drug money through a toilet drain, with the intention to recover it afterwards. However, the money appears to have disappeared and the team is suspended from active duty for a while so they can be subjected to an internal investigation about the alleged concealment of drug money. As members of this testosterone-charged team get massacred one by one in a beastly manner , Breacher starts together with detective Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) an investigation, to find out who is the real culprit.

    “Sabotage” is fully in line with the other Schwarzy movies. Partially anyway. First, the performance of old Arnie is still the same: stiff, emotionless and poorly. I can’t understand that after all these years playing in American films, he still speaks with such a heavy Austrian accent. Not that his dialogues were so extensive formerly. It’s only Arnold who uses such bombastic w’s in witty phrases like “Get your weapons”, “Get down” or “Are they as big as your wife’s …”. Or is it just his trademark after all these years and he remains stubbornly loyal to this quality ? Just to remain recognizable in between the majority of today’s action heroes. Additionally, you shouldn’t expect a lot of depth in his movies. The same counts for “Sabotage”. It’s just a series of brutal action scenes in old-school style.

    What surprised me was the level of sadism and gore that was used in this film. Normally Arnold’s films are well packed with hard fight scenes and enormous shootings with innumerable victims. A wet dream for the average undertaker. Only in previous films they were economical with artificial blood. Mostly there wasn’t even a speck of blood in it. In “Sabotage” on the other hand it flowed richly and they even showed some terribly mutilated victims. Arnold has reached a certain retirement age and performances with enormous physical efforts are no longer obvious. His contribution in this film is limited to leadership and using automatic rifles. The excitement was reasonably good and I dare even say that the traumatized Breacher was realistically portrayed by Arnold. Who would have thought of Arnold exhibiting a bit of acting talent.

    “Sabotage” is an average exciting movie but holds on to the same formula as we know from Schwarzenegger. However, I fear that those who saw this movie, already forgot what it was about after a week. Even an action-packed chase scene at the end can’t change the fact that the whole thing looks kind of lousy. The final twist, which is actually a logical consequence of the opening scene, isn’t exactly impressive. There were also some imperfections in this film. How the hell could they know that the missing sum was $ 10 million exactly ? They kept detailed records of this drug cartel ? Even the attempt to break the record of “The Wolf of Wall Street” (the frequent use of the F-word), began to work on my nerves after a while. And despite the fact that the team consisted of a bunch of professionals, it felt more like a group out of a kindergarten at a certain moment, who amused themselves with childish bullying. “Sabotage”: a raw and dark film with bloody scenes. According to David Ayer the film was sabotaged by the studio. They demanded to cut out half of the film. Whether this has ensured this film to become an average flick, we will never know.

  • After taking a 7 year hiatus from the world of acting (as we all know, he became the Governor of California), Arnold Schwarzenegger has had the sad misfortune of losing a lot of his box office clout. His new film Sabotage opened today and I’m not sure that it has a chance of setting the world on fire (ticket receipt wise of course). I do know this though, as a DEA commander overseeing a bunch of high strung, highly volatile (did I mention gun toting) DEA task force operatives, Arnie gives probably one of the best performances of his career. Instead of spouting off one-liners and offing tons of bad guys, he decides to provide a more dramatic, more deepened turn here. He dons an interesting haircut and a grizzled look. And oh yeah, he still remembers to chomp on cigars throughout (it’s an iconic image anyway so why not). In hindsight, this is not your typical Schwarzenegger flick. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen him in before. What surprised me is that the complexity of his role is something that I hadn’t witnessed since his bout in 1990’s Total Recall.

    Featuring big name actors who look almost unrecognizable in their parts (Sam Worthington and Josh Holloway come to mind) and an extremely effective use of Atlanta based locales, Sabotage begins with Arnold’s character John “Breacher” Wharton. The opening frame shows him watching a snuff film of his wife being tortured. I can’t give anything else away only to say that this is the main plot element that ties the whole running time together. In the next couple of frames, we meet his crew of misfits. They are all in dire need of a shower. Added to that, they are hard up, emotionless, arrogant foot soldiers primed to make money infiltrating a drug cartel safe house. When an interrogation occurs, pushers are murdered, and the money somehow goes missing, there is a federal investigation followed by a killing spree targeted at everyone in Wharton’s crew. The investigation in question, is headed by officer Caroline Brentwood (effectively played by Olivia Williams). I read a review in which a critic labeled Sabotage as a whodunit. I would agree with that only to say that when the culprits are revealed, the suspense factor is lazy and lacking. The so-called whodunit element happens too quickly and I expected more from an aggressive screenwriter like David Ayer.

    Speaking of Ayer (he also serves as director), his script as expected, goes over the top with its outlandishness and frequent use of the F word. It does some of the actors justice only to fail most of the others. There are times where it settles down to tell a story. By then it’s too late. The filth on screen dominates the proceedings and causes things to not elaborate as they should. The plot when you think about it, is relatively thin even for an Ayer-like picture. He opts for the extreme gore factor along with some offensive dialogue causing everything else to take a back seat. The horrific ways in which people die in this movie don’t seem relative, they just seem you know, for show.

    Then there is the ending which resembles a modern day Western. It felt abrupt and quick minded. I wanted more since I’m again, familiar with Ayer’s work. As a writer, he likes to prolong his conclusions like in Street Kings and Training Day. With Sabotage, he provides his normal trademarks as a director only to somewhat hold back a bit. If anything, he accomplishes the feat of squeezing out a solid performance from Schwarzenegger which to my chagrin, almost saves the proceedings.

    In conclusion, the definition of the word sabotage is as follows: to deliberately destroy, damage, or obstruct something especially for military or political use. The film safe to say, accomplishes this by glorifying violence and the bludgeoning, disturbing images that result from it. If anything, see it as a welcoming back party for every one’s favorite Austrian, AAARRRNNOLLD! Here’s hoping that “he’ll be back” for something better cinematically in the future.

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