So Sabotage! Yeah! I’m at a loss for words, truly. I really wanted nothing to do with this one, but since it was a pretty lifeless week for press screeners in the Austin, TX area and there’s not a single one slated for Noah I thought why not? I have been pleasantly surprised before and the more I read about Sabotage the more I felt that maybe, just maybe, I could get onboard with it. After all, Escape Plan and The Last Stand weren’t completely awful films. As long as this is better than The Expendables I know I can get on board. So why not, indeed! Let’s roll with the punches and trade a few bullets in this review because this one has a pretty simple one-sentence synopsis: Members of an elite DEA task force find themselves being taken down one-by-one after they bust into a drug cartel safe house. Sound familiar? Hell yeah it does! But this one has Arnold with tattoos! So it has to be a must-see movie, right? Read on, buck-o!
Sabotage is actually the third name for this film as I found out it was previously titled Ten and Breacher. The David Ayer directed action vehicle stars none other than Venice Beach’s favorite all-star pumping God, Arnold Schwarzenegger, from a script written by Skip Woods. I also read that this one is loosely based on Agatha Christie’s 1939 work And Then There Were None, but I can’t say that with one-hundred percent certainty since I have never tackled that one before. In addition to the famous Austrian, the cast tops off with Sam Worthington, Mireile Enos, Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello and Josh Holloway.
So the thing is…I did not hate it. However, I did not love it either. It really just comes down to a relief that it’s a good old throwback to the way rated-R used to be and of course should be…blood, guts, violence and gratuitous nudity. So that much I liked. And oh yeah…there was a twist in there that I thought was pretty well done too. Would I have done things a little differently towards the end? Absolutely! But it is what it is, right? Well, let’s clear the air on one thing. There were a few jokes here or there, but thank the Gods that it was nothing like The Expendables. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s still hard as hell for me to see this older version of Arnold onscreen, but I’m just so completely thankful it was not one joke or crack after another about his old age in homage to his past bodies of work. We can finally move away from all of that and I’m happy about that at least.
The rest of the supporting cast in this was great in my opinion. Joe Manganiello, outside his True Blood role, felt a little estranged to me onscreen, but I like his hulking and menacing size and I think he blended in well with the rest of the other thugs…err…I mean DEA agents. Arnold’s elite team of agents are what gave this film momentum to me. They kept me interested and wanting to know who and when someone was going to get picked off because quite frankly I felt invested in these characters and that was a good thing. The bad for me was probably just the pacing. I grew a little restless at times, but hot damn on a stick of sugar I sure do like the heist quality of it all. That kept me in the game. I wanted to know who was picking these guys off one-by-one and who had the gosh darn *bleep* (edited for the caution of spoilers). If nothing else, I did become more proficient sweeping corners in Call of Duty: Ghosts thank to the training exercises in this flick.
I have to admit, it did feel weird having Terrence Howard’s character in it. He didn’t seem to work for me and all I kept thinking about was him in Prisoners, but I digress. The raw brutality of it all was that Ayer delivered the goods on a solid R-rated flick that gave us plenty of body knocks, stomach gouges and even point blank shots to the head without flinching. I can respect and get behind a body of work like this. That’s why I came to this movie and in that respect it did not disappoint. If I had to sum it up genre wise, I would kind of err on the safe side by declaring Sabotage part heist while retaining that i’t’s very much a revenge flick. However, the real question is just who’s after who and of course why. It takes awhile, but Sabotage takes us there firing round after round and for these reasons alone I can feel reassured and comfortable in recommending a viewing of Sabotage this weekend at your local multiplex. I have no idea what kind of flooding Noah will do at the box office, but if you want a good old throwback to the way rated-R films should be made with no holds barred…listen all y’all it’s Sabotage!