Director: David Ayer
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams, Terence Howard, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway
Written by: Skip Woods and David Ayer
Running Time: 109 mins
Release date: 7th May 2014
Do you remember when a new film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was an event. A mix of mindless violence, exciting action, popcorn munching nonsense and the odd quip or six from the Austrian former bodybuilder? Those days seems long gone after having to sit through the vile and disgusting new Arnie thriller, Sabotage, in which gone are the quips, gone is the exciting action and the popcorn munching nonsense has been replaced by brutality, torture and entrails. Lots and lots of entrails.
John ‘Breacher’ Wharton is the leader of a gang of ruthless undercover DEA members who have the look of criminals and yet they get the job done. Entering a drugs cartels home, the gang clean up and with a large stash of money in front of them, they decide to give themselves an extra raise by hiding $10 million. When they come to collect, the money has gone and they are instantly under investigation. For six months they are immobile until the FBI decide to drop the case. Then the trouble really begins as one by one the team are being murdered. Could it be revenge from one of the many cartels they have broken? Or could it be closer to home?
This starts off with plenty of promise. An interesting premise of having a ragtag team taking a little off the top for themselves and ending being shafted and accused. Then it takes the unexpected turn of becoming a whodunit for the video game age, leading to an utterly implausible epilogue that seems to have been tacked on from another film.
What it suffers from are several things. Firstly, it is boring. Secondly, it is unbelievable. Thirdly, it is horribly brutal and vicious and nasty. Fourthly it is rubbish of the highest order. There seems to be very little to redeem this pile of trash except that if you like looking at body parts and seeing people’s brains being splattered over walls then you will find this an enjoyable piece of entertainment. For us much saner individuals, this is a limp and lame excuse to be just nasty.
The murders are so graphic that it only slightly falls this side of torture porn. Bullets fly everywhere and when they hit, you don’t just get a little blood, you get gallons of it. An innocent bystander, riding a bike, is hit by a car. It’s not bad enough that we see the windscreen get covered in red goo but we also get a close-up of said person’s exploded head.
There is an old saying that less is more. Here, they have completely ignored that statement, thinking that by having body parts all over the place, no one will notice how terrible the story line is. No, they didn’t. This wants to be taken seriously as a murder mystery, yet there are so many gaping holes that you could drive a car through it. What makes it worse are the long scenes of the troop kicking in doors, shouting “clear!” and wandering around corridors, guns cocked, ready to blow a hole in another nameless baddie.
The performances aren’t up to much either. Arnie, with his new slick-back hair-do, tries his best Clint Eastwood impression but ends up looking like an old man playing cops and robbers. Sam Worthington, with his platted beard, grunts and groans a lot as a cop called “Monster” while Olivia Williams, who deserves so much better than this tripe, seems to have wandered in from another film to find herself in a room full of testosterone. As for Terence Howard, you wonder why he even bothered turning up. Playing what could easily be a role for a lesser known actor, he is wasted like no other.
Director David Ayer, who made the vastly overrated End Of Watch, teamed up with Skip Woods, the man who wrote (and killed off a classic series) A Good Day To Die Hard. If you thought that film was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. What makes this so annoying is that you can see the possibilities and in the hands of a decent writer and director, this could have worked well. Instead, this bile is not worth paying to see. Avoid unless you like your violence graphic and pointless.You yearn for the days when Arnie’s films were bad but good. This is just bad.