You know fun? Think the exact opposite of that and you’ll be in the right mindset for Sabotage, an exceedingly dreary and uninteresting revenge/whodunit that easily ranks as one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s worst films. Stripped of his larger-than-life persona and forced to play a grieving widower and leader of a DEA drug-busting unit, Arnold simply doesn’t have the acting chops to carry what is a deadly serious narrative. The film is also very light on action, settling in as more of a slow burn drama. This could have been interesting had the story been given more than a fleeting thought.
Schwarzenegger plays John “Breacher” Wharton, the leader of a DEA task force that has taken down some of the world’s most hardened drug lords. His team is made up of some potty-humor loving characters, each with their own laughable code name. We have “Monster” (Worthington), “Grinder” (Manganiello), and “Sugar” (Howard), among others. During their latest take-down, the team steals $10 million in cash thinking that no one would even notice. When they go to retrieve it, the money has vanished. Upon returning home, members of the group begin getting picked off one by one. Is it an inside job? Is it the cartels? Will you be awake to find out?
Director/co-writer David Ayer has been the go-to guy for gritty, albeit very average cop films over the past decade or so. His screenplay here appears to have begun with around 200 F-bombs with story sprinkled in from there. All of the characters, including Wharton, are pretty much awful people. So, when they start dying in grisly, Final Destination-esque fashion, it’s hard to even care. On top of that are too many plot conveniences and unanswered questions to count, all leading up to a run-of-the-mill shoot-out that settles next to nothing. The film’s lone savior is Olivia Williams as a local cop investigating the heist. She brings more attitude to her role than everyone else combined.
Sabotage has no idea what it is from scene to scene. It alternates between potty humor, torture footage, gory deaths, and Agatha Christie mainstays while going nowhere. The one constant is nothing that happens is interesting or remotely entertaining. Schwarzenegger has been very busy since jumping back into the acting game, but it might be time to step back and be a bit more discerning with future projects. Fortunately for him, Sabotage will be long forgotten in a matter of months.
Studio: Open Road Films
Length: 109 Minutes
Rating: R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use.
Theatrical Release: March 28, 2014
Directed by: David Ayer
Written by: Skip Woods & David Ayer
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard, Josh Holloway, Joe Manganiello