Dir: David Ayer
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway, Terrence Howard, Mireille Enos, Max Martini, Harold Perrineau and Olivia Williams
Synopsis: Members of an elite DEA task force find themselves being taken down one by one after they rob a drug cartel safe house.
*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*
John “Breacher” Wharton (Schwarzenegger) is a veteran DEA agent who leads an elite, hardcore special ops team, most of whom we only know through nicknames: “Grinder (Manganeillo), “Monster” (Worthington), “Neck” (Holloway), “Sugar” (Howard), “Pyro” (Martini), as well as the regularly named “Lizzy” (Enos). During a raid on a drug house, they attempt to steal $10 million, but when they go to retrieve the money, it’s missing. Forced to lay low, the team eventually reunites only to start being picked off one-by-one. Local detective Caroline (Williams) and her partner Jackson (Perrineau) come into investigate, and Caroline reluctantly teams up with Breacher to find out who’s murdering his team.
The promotional material has sold Sabotage as an all out action movie, whereas it’s really a mystery thriller, and a character-driven one at that. Every character is shady or at least a little shady, including Arnold’s “Breacher” character. You would think that DEA agents that are tasked with talking down cartels or ruining their plans would be professional to some extend but our “heroes” will act out, drink, do drugs and not even worry about taking arrests, they simple kill their targets. This is all a bit odd because at first we are rooting for the team. There is a real camaraderie between them and the banter between them seems real. But once everything goes to hell, they change completely and we as the viewer are left wondering if we should like anyone one of these people.
Sabotage is almost unlike anything Arnold’s done before. The first time we see him in this movie he has his head in his hands, sobbing and helpless. Arnold really does commit to it and it’s nice to see him try to do something so different at this stage in his career. But, of course, being Arnold he still appears to be settled comfortably into the role of the grizzled, old soldier who can still kick ass. Which he does here.
But, it’s supporting cast that also helps Arnold out in the end. Joe Manganiello and a nearly unrecognizable Sam Worthington play their members who view Arnold’s leader as a surrogate father. Arguably the show-stealer is Mirrelle Enos as Lizzy, the team’s only female member and an ass-kicker in every sense of the term. The only other female cast member in the movie, Olivia Williams, is a no nonsense cop who gets sucked into the teams hell and is a somewhat love interest for “Breacher.”
Harold Perrineau as Williams’ partner has some nice banter but doesn’t really do much. Josh Holloway as “Neck” has some memorably lines. But, Terrence Howard is really under-used and you sometimes forget he’s around unless he speaks. They really could have gotten any one else to play the part. But, such is the problem with some ensemble casts. Some are bound to fall in the wayside.
The movie also has some few blind-siding plot twists that will probably divide people but they kind of work in the end, although they could have gone a different way to show them. One truly comes out of nowhere and I felt it probably didn’t need to go that way because at the end it didn’t really matter. Still some of twist where nice to see and made the movie different from what it could have been.
All in all, Sabotage is more a mystery thriller with action sequences scattered throughout. The movie can get a little clunky in some areas but overall the movie is enjoyable enough and will keep you guessing until the end.
3.5 out of 5