Director: David Ayer
Script: Skip Woods, David Ayer
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Josh Holloway, Joe Manganiello, Harold Perrineau
Run time: 109 minutes
Sabotage is the latest film in a series of Arnie comeback movies. And it’s the best of the bunch so far. It has the best cast and the best production values and most believable script. It’s the most violent as well.
A once tightly-knit, but now ragtag team of misogynistic, hard-ass, DEA guys (and one girl), who are basically scumbags with badges are part of a Special Ops team. They work hard and they play hard. Maybe too hard. Hard drinking, drugs, strippers... They're not much different to the criminals they're chasing. They’re tentatively held together by John ‘Breacher’ Wharton who does his best to keep them on the right side of the law. That is until they get involved with a drugs cartel.
All the guys in the film try their best to measure up to Arnie. None are as big or as bad as he is (or perhaps was when he was their age). Josh Holloway looks fairly menacing. Sam Worthington is almost unrecognisable. Joe Manganiello just looks nasty. They are a pretty formidable group. But they are about to fall apart.
Breacher's wife and son were taken by the cartel a few years ago and were brutally tortured for months. The cartel periodically mailed body parts to Breacher until they were put out of their misery. Breacher couldn't do anything to save them but vowed to take revenge on the cartel.
Breacher leads his group to a bust on the cartel and they steal $10M in cash, loosing one of their guys in the process. The team is investigated and they stand to lose their jobs. The money goes missing and then members of the team start to get offed in increasingly grisly and unusual ways. Who's got the money and who is picking off the team? Is it a group of ruthless Gutamalan hit men hired by the cartel?
Olivia Williams is a tough investigator and she is believable in the role. She stands up to the other characters and is intimidating. There is a great scene where she looks up at a wall of photos of Breacher (real pictures of Arnie) with presidents Clinton and Obama and one of him from Commando. She looks at them, impressed "You're kind of a big deal?" It's a tip of the hat to his earlier work and the legend that he has become.
Breacher spent some time in Mexico hunting down the cartel but he never found the boss. When it turns out that Breacher is using the stolen money to pay off the local Mexico police for leads on where the cartel bosses are it all really kicks off and these are the best scenes in the movie with Arnie back into real lone action man mode.
Arnie is looking older, but he’s also taking on a character with a few different shades and personality traits that we haven’t perhaps seen so much of before. He knows he can’t be the Arnie of old. He knows he has to mature and change. We love to see him as the lone hero, and he still is, but it’s tempered with a little more reality and in this instance grittiness. The script and direction suit him and the characters and actors around him have been carefully chosen. He’s still the main man and it’s great to see his re-invention of himself as a filmstar continue.
Sabotage is an enjoyable, if violent, misogynistic and grisly film. It holds viewer attention and it is compelling throughout to the final twists.