The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

SABOTAGE (2014) **

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as the leader of an elite SWAT unit that specializes in dirty jobs. During a raid on the palace of a drug lord, they steal $10 million from his stash and hide it away. Later, when they go to retrieve the money, they are dismayed to learn someone has already taken it. The team is taken off active duty pending an investigation, and after six months of scrutiny, they are sent back out in the field. Pretty soon, Arnold’s team members start dying one by one in horrible ways. Is it the drug cartel trying to get revenge, or has one of the team snapped and starting killing his friends?

Directed by David (Street Kings) Ayer, Sabotage is a needlessly muddled and overlong action flick that never really decides what it wants to be. It starts off as a heist flick before turning into a 21st century giallo (complete with spectacularly gory deaths), before morphing into a Death Wish kind of deal in the last reel. Had Ayer tackled any one of these plotlines separately, the results could’ve been decent. However, by cramming it all together, nothing really sticks.

I give Arnold credit for trying to play his age and inhabiting a more world-weary character to boot. I think he signed on to the flick to show he could play more mature types of characters. And in theory, working with a guy like Ayer would seem like a good fit. But the movie is just so over the top and in your face trying to prove how hardcore it is that it winds up being off-putting. The violence and gore I was okay with, but the characters are just so thoroughly unlikeable that it makes the simplest scenes hard to sit through.

I mean all the foul-mouthed team members have stupid names like “Monster” and “Pyro”. They all have tons of dumb tattoos and idiotic hairstyles to show how “macho” they are too. In one scene, one of the interchangeable team members gets a new tattoo. This is what is known as “character development” in the world of Sabotage.

Arnold skates by on his chops alone, but the rest of the cast more or less flounder. It doesn’t help that all of them blur together. Only Joe Manganiello comes the closest to earning any sympathy.

Still, there is some fun to be had here. Just see if you can keep track of how many times Olivia Williams’ accent changes. In some scenes she’s speaking British. In some scenes she’s speaking with a southern accent. In some scenes she has an urban twang. (Charisma vacuum Sam Worthington pulls a similar feat in the film too, although he’s strictly an amateur compared to Williams.) Sure Sabotage is a forgettable entry in Arnold’s oeuvre, but I think it might gain a second life on video as a drinking game. Seriously, if you take a shot whenever Williams’ accent changes, you won’t live to see the end credits.

Manganiello gets the best line of the movie when he says, “We should’ve never fingered the devil’s pussy!”

Tags: action, arnold, s
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