After David Ayer brought the world End of Watch, a visceral, captivating and very violent police drama, I was rather excited to see what he brought us next. It turns out that his next is Sabotage and it doesn’t exactly live up to the same standards that End of Watch set for Ayer. It’s violent and vulgar and very adult themed but that’s where the real fun stops. I hate to keep bringing up another movie but with End of Watch the characters were so fleshed out and human. I cared for them and nearly cried when the end came for them. It was real and humorous and meaningful. With Sabotage it has all the elements that make up a great action film but lacks any real depth or character exploration to make it a crime epic. I loved the unforgiving violence it showcases and it’s interesting watching these actors use real tactics to search and clear a room. But it’s puddle deep and highly unrealistic with its story elements and twists. A certain element happens and then the reveal and it holds no weight to it; it doesn’t have the impact they were hoping for.
Now for the positive aspects; like I mentioned this is one hell of a violent action filled popcorn flick. The characters are tough, take no shit kind of people and it’s a fun time to watch them interact among others like them and to watch the faces of those who simply don’t understand them. The action elements feel highly authentic and accurate which is always a plus to see that kind of effort put into “getting it right”. Ayer clearly has a great respect and fascination with law enforcement and it shines through in every movie he’s a part of. The story although lacking never drags and is certainly never dull. Everyone starring in this carries their weight well enough even in the most ludicrous of scenes and believe me, this has its fair share.
The top SOT of the DEA is led by John ‘Breacher’ Wharton (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his team is a hardened group of misfit hooligans who do one thing and they do it well; they take down drug operations in a fast and tactical fashion. Generally speaking they don’t take prisoners either. After a major raid of a cartel’s mansion the team gets what they feel is their share of a large sum of drug money. When they go back for the money they hid, they discover the money they stole has been stolen from them. Despite a thorough investigation filled with accusations about Breacher’s team, no one cracks and the investigation ends. When they let their guard down, that’s when it all hits the fan. One by one, the team members start getting executed. From the moment this all begins, their trust for one another begins to waver before an all-out showdown takes place. Fingers pointed and bodies falling with no answers as to why or who; they all have their theories but with time dwindling they don’t exactly have the luxury of sitting down and talking things out. A pull of the trigger is much faster and simpler.
I think with any movie starring Schwarzenegger, you have to ignore his odd placement. I have a difficult time watching a serious storyline and hearing Arnold spout off his lines, he just kind of sounds silly. I think with him I can’t see him as his characters, I see him as Arnold. Everyone else felt fine in their respective roles but even their characters aren’t that fascinating. A problem I had with them is that when a main character would perish, their reactions were near nonexistent. A fellow comrade would die, they drank a shot in his honor and that was that. When they first hear about their friend’s death they don’t seem shocked or even all that bothered by it. They would talk about their loyalty toward one another but their initial reactions to another’s death seemed to be missing. They stock it up to being a hazard of the profession. So that means you shouldn’t be saddened by your friend’s death? Okay… I don’t think that’s an honest facet of life in law enforcement especially among those who are supposedly so close, but whatever.
All in all, Sabotage is a highly enjoyable action film with little to no depth. You should find it entertaining like I did but don’t expect the same kind of magic that End of Watch brought. This is more along the lines of Ayer’s older directorial effort, Street Kings; likeable but forgettable. It’s another Arnold film where everyone has to pretend that he isn’t “…too old for this shit”.
Rated R For: strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use
Run Time: 109 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Mireille Enos, Joe Manganiello, Terrence Howard
Directed By: David Ayer
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4.5
OVERALL: 3.5 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
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