David Ayer’s fascination with corrupt cops has given us some nifty cop dramas. Writer of The Training Day and director of the under-rated Street Kings and the brilliant End Of Watch, he’s had firm footing in the industry for quite some time now. I had high hopes for Sabotage especially when I’d loved Ayer’s End of Watch. The potential with a star studded cast like that of Sabotage’s was enormous. But this movie aims to bring the former Governor back to action-dom and to less cheesier one at that. Despite its hype, its agreeable that The Escape Plan didn’t work out well for both Arnold or Stallone much and the same goes for Arnie’s own The Last Stand.
Sabotage is a ludicrous story of a rogue undercover DEA task force, and it aims to, as previously mentioned, shape a post-political Arnold Schwarzenegger into an iconic take-no-prisoners Federal agent hell-bent on vengeance. With his team of scumbag agents, including Sam Worthington, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway, Terrence Howard, Max Martini and Mireille Enos, Arnie sets out to do some serious Cartel-busting business. Sabotage starts out well, in true Ayer fashion, shaky multi-angle cameras, gritty scenarios, violence, and promises a few chuckles on its way down, yes its all there. But when you’re done watching the movie, you are left with a lot of unanswered questions and to ponder about them seems like more of the waste of time that you’ve invested watching the movie.
Based on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Sabotage had everything going for it initially. The whodunit mystery was well deployed in its visuals and direction, but only until its 2nd act. Halfway through the narrative, the filmmakers quickly tire of that track and it feels that its lost its way at some point between scripting and editing nor could David Sardy’s electronic score provide momentum. And the messy violence, rather than having something to say about the war on drugs and its dehumanizing effect on those who fight it, is merely deadening.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was severely miscast here as Breacher, he feels like the weakest of the cast despite his brooding/menacing looks and heavy frame. Arnie isn’t breaking any grounds and is just here for fanfare. The other cast members gave away decent performances, an almost unrecognizable Sam Worthington and an intimidatingly Brobdingnagian, Joe Manganiello for example. But some of them had very less screentime especially Josh Holloway and Terrence Howard. Of the lot, it was Mireille Enos who stole some limelight as the crazy, junkie, hyper-violent Lizzy, now that was some serious make-over. Olivia Williams, although seemingly a strong (and sane) female character amidst the the alpha male party, plays a goofy Fed who goes from ‘not a care in the world’ to all gaga for Arnie. Nuff said!
In the end Sabotage falls victim to a halfwit story and some silly plot-twists thrown around. With such a cast it could have created magic. The movie felt gritty up until the 2nd act but from there on it went down the drain breaking all hell loose and spewing unnecessary gore all the way down. The deceptive previews could be equally blamed. I am not saying its not at all worth its salt, it had its moments but its simply a hodge podge of ‘could have beens’. Sabotage‘s mediocrity might create some bad ripples for Ayer’s upcoming Fury as well.