New Review: Sabotage (2014)
Director: David Ayer
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia Williams, Sam Worthington, and a whole bunch of other actors who should have known better.
The very first thing we see in Sabotage is a woman, bloodied and screaming, being tortured by a couple of masked men. This is not a promising opening. From there, the movie turns into an ugly, nasty, cynical, impossibly sadistic, and evil-spirited "action movie," with pretty much nothing to say in its favor. A certain amount of violence and gore is to be expected in an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle, but this movie goes to such extremes to be offensive and off-putting, that I actually felt the urge to walk out on it more than once. When the end credits finally started to roll, I felt nauseous and violated.
Am I over-exaggerating here? I don't think I am. This is a movie where a man is found nailed to a ceiling, his entrails hanging out of him, while the female agent at the crime scene slips and falls directly into a large puddle of the man's blood. It's also the sort of the movie where, if an innocent pedestrian on a bicycle is hit by a car during a high speed chase, the camera has to linger on the pedestrian's lifeless and bloody face. Director David Ayer wallows almost mastubatorily on scenes of dismembered limbs, entrails, and mutilated corpses, and after a while, you're left thinking, "Why am I watching this?"
There is not a second of it that is entertaining. The story, if you must know, involves DEA agent John 'Breacher' Wharton (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his team getting picked off by a mysterious killer, after they steal 10 million dollars of drug money during one of their busts. One of his men has his RV parked right on the train tracks. Another is killed at his country home. There's a scene where Breacher finds one of his men dead in a refrigerator, and it is such a vile scene that it churns my stomach just thinking about it.
Olivia Williams plays Atlanta homicide investigator Caroline Brentwood, and to say that she's treated like dirt by Wharton's team is an understatement. There's one scene where she goes to Wharton's house, while he and his men are mourning the loss of one of their own, and not only do they demand that she strip her clothes (they think she's a stripper), but one of them starts making inappropriate sexual advances toward her (it looked like he was ready to force himself on her until Wharton intervened). Wharton's team are such pigs that you feel nothing for them when they start getting killed off. There is one woman in Wharton's team, and she turns out to be the worst of the bunch (she's a drug user and pretty much just a lunatic).
Wharton himself is not someone we can really root for. Here's a character who spends his free time smoking a cigar and drinking alcohol while watching the video of his wife's torture and murder. Why? I guess to fuel his rage when he finally goes after the people responsible. He is such a downbeat and depressing character that we feel no joy watching him. There comes a point where the movie hints at romantic feelings developing between Wharton and Brentwood, but it is so unconvincing, and is so poorly developed that it comes across almost like an after thought.
To be honest, I like Arnold. I like his movies. Even some of his worst movies have a charm about them that make them enjoyable to watch. I grew up watching movies like Conan the Barbarian, Commando, and True Lies. I've watched Total Recall, Last Action Hero, and the Terminator movies many times, and I was one of the people who defended his 2002 film Collateral Damage. I had a lot of fun with The Expendables 2, had a blast with his The Last Stand, and while I thought Escape Plan was quite the bore, I thought his performance was the highlight of the movie.
I went to see Sabotage, not caring about what the critics were saying, and expecting to enjoy a mindlessly entertaining Ah-nuld movie. What I got instead was something akin to those damn Saw movies. Thankfully, the new Captain America movie comes out next week, and the reviews for that so far have been glowing. We need good action movies. Even the very violent ones can be fun. But Sabotage is a diseased and poisonous movie, and I honestly can't imagine a worse film being released this year. If there is, I have no desire to see it.
Rated R for graphic bloody violence, torture, LOTS of profanity, drug use, sexual content, nudity
Final Grade: no stars (out of ****)
What were your thoughts on this film? :)
WOW, this is a MISLEADING trailer!!!! D8
Other Thoughts on Sabotage (2014)
- Sabotage Movie Review & Film Summary (2014) | Roger Ebert
- Dustin Putman's Review: Sabotage (2014)
Sabotage (2014) - 2.5/4 Stars - Brings seat-jolting tension and savagery to the otherwise subjectively familiar.