FlixChatter Review: SABOTAGE

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Just like his pal Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzegger is trying to reclaim his glory days as the box office king of the 80s and 90s by starring in action films again in the 21st century. So far though, both them have had more duds than hits and I’m afraid this trend will continue with Arnold’s latest action thriller.

The movie opens with a group of elite DEA agents being lead by John “Breacher” Wharton (Arnie) raiding on some drug dealers’ fancy mansion. They found at least $100mil cash stashed away in the lower level of the mansion and the team decided to steal $10mil of that money and burn the rest so no one at the DEA will know they took the cash. Of course things didn’t turn out as planned, when they tried to retrieve the cash later, it’s nowhere to be found. Things got worse when the DEA found out that the $10mil is missing and they accuse Breacher and his team of stealing the money. All of them were under investigation and Breacher lost his team. About six months later, the DEA couldn’t find enough evidence to build a case against Breacher and his team, so the case will be close.

After the good news, Breacher tracked down his old teammates and try to get them back to doing what they do best, kill lots of bad guys. Unfortunately things didn’t come back to normal for the team, three of them were killed and this lead to the involvement of a homicide detective Caroline (Olivia Williams). Caroline suspects the drug cartel is behind the killings but Breacher and his team aren’t willing to help her with the investigation. The trailers let us to believe that this was a non-stop action adventure but it’s really a procedural thriller with some shootouts and a car chase. Not the usual Arnold’s flicks from the past.

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The script by Skip Woods and David Ayer was pretty good, nothing too deep or over the top. Instead of giving us one liners after another, some of the dialogs were quite witty and Arnold delivered them perfectly. The script might think it’s smarter than it’s actually is but I went along with the plot. Ayer made a name for himself by writing Training Day and the first Fast & Furious film, so don’t expect anything new or original from this movie. I’m not the biggest fan of his directing style though, he basically incorporated the look and feel of his last movie (End of Watch) into this one. I’m sort of getting annoyed by some directors who think that by shooting their movie digitally, they think it will look more “realistic”. I don’t get why they couldn’t add some effects in post production and make the movie look more cinematic, I can’t stand watching a movie that looks like it’s shot with a home camcorder. Despite the flat and uninspired cinematography, Ayer did shoot some good action scenes, particularly the climatic car chase and shootout.

Performance wise, I thought Arnold did a pretty good job, again it’s Arnold we’re talking about here so don’t expect an Oscar caliber acting. Olivia Williams pretty much played the second lead and I thought she’s good in the role, I couldn’t remember the last time I saw her in a movie. The rest of the cast including Sam Worthington (I guess he’s already lost his leading man status now), Mireille Enos, Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello and Josh Holloway did a serviceable job in their respective roles.

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For a movie like this, I think most people expect to see lots of shootouts and explosions, so it’s a nice surprise that it does have some sort of a plot and kept my attention without something blowing up every 10 minutes. I think I might give it a higher rating had Ayer and his team made the movie look more like a real movie instead of home video. But I’m glad they didn’t scale back the blood and violence, I think this is a good rental.

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What do you think of Sabotage?

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17 thoughts on “FlixChatter Review: SABOTAGE

  1. I have no interesting in watching this and since I learned that Skip Woods’ name was attached to this. I knew it was going to suck because the guy is a fucking hack. He wrote that godawful X-Men Origins: Wolverine film and the last Die Hard movie. Fuck him!

    1. Ted S.

      I know how you feel, my feelings about another hack in Hollywood, Kurt Wimmer, is the same as yours, that man have no business writing any movie yet he keeps getting work. Apparently his script for the remake of Point Break got a green light, I don’t know how that happened since his script for the remake of Total Recall was awful and the movie tanked.

      I’m not a fan of Woods either but this one wasn’t as bad as the other movies he wrote, particularly the last Die Hard movie. So yeah, you shouldn’t see this movie if you can’t stand Skip Woods.

  2. Solid review, Ted. I liked it about the same as you. I was pleasantly surprised how well Mireille Enos and Joe Manganiello came off, though. I expect theirs will be on the upturn after this.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Michael. I didn’t mind Enos or Manganiello either, they did fine in their respective roles.

      I thought I might hate this movie about 30 minutes in but after the little “twist” of the plot kicked in half way through, it worked for me and I went with it.

    1. Ted S.

      Ha ha, I totally understand how you feel. Like I mentioned above, I thought I was going to hate it too but then the “twist” happened and I went along with it.

  3. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ted:

    Sabotage . Or The Return of Shaky Cam !

    I’m of the camp who believes that Mr. Schwarzenegger should never have strayed from his larger than life roles in Predator and The Running Man , instead of getting involved in politics. The years have passed, and you cannot catch that kind of lightning in a bottle twice.

    Sabotage sounds like a medium grade “shoot ’em up!” without a lot of “shoot ’em up!” and a kidnapping. Shades of Commando !

    Does anyone know or remember if Arnie’s daughter is named “Jenny, or “Chenny” in Sabotage for nostalgia’s sake?

    1. Ted S.

      Hey Jack, yeah the shaky cam was a bit too much, as expected in today’s action movies. Thankfully the director didn’t shake the cameras too much during the big action scenes.

      Yeah I agree, Arnold should stick to the more fantasy role he’d played in the past, this one got a bit too “serious” at times but I went along with it. And yes it’s a shoot’em up without lots of shootouts.

      Ha ha, I always heard it as Chenny, but I figured he said Jenny. LOL.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Terry, yeah it’s nothing new or original. It’s a good rental if you want to waste an hour and half of seeing Arnold shoot a bunch of “bad” guys.

  4. I’m a Arnie fan so would probably still catch this although I too am not convinced it’ll be good. I think the big-guy right now needs an action film with more comedic elements in it. He is too old to do pure action and has in the past shown he can do action-comedies. Anyway, I think Arnie in person has good sense of humor too.

    1. Ted S.

      You might enjoy this one but yeah I agree with you, he should star in more action/comedy like The Last Stand, this one got a bit too serious at times. The funny thing is this movie has no fist fight scene, makes sense because Arnold’s 66 years old now and it would look too fake to have go mano a mano against someone who’s 30 years younger than him, LOL.

  5. Very nice review Ted. I’m a big old school Arnie fan but this one seemed a bit too abrasive. Ended up skipping it. I certainly didn’t do well and some haters are calling it the end for Schwarzenegger. I kinda hope not.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Keith.

      I think Ayer’s trying to combine some of old school Arnold’s flicks like Predator, Red Heat, Total Recall and Commando into this movie. It’s bloody and violent but no more so than those films I mentioned. It’s funny when I read some of the reviews saying the film’s too violent, I think most critics today are use to seeing PG13 action flicks and were shock to see a bloody hard R-rated action picture. I think if they watch Total Recall or Predator again, they’ll be shock as to how graphic those films were, I mean Arnold used some poor guy as a human shield in Total Recall while shooting down a bunch of bad guys.

    1. Ted S.

      Hey James, it’s a good rental, not worth the high priced tickets at the theater. And also the movie looked like it’s made for home video so it’s not worth seeing on the big screen, LOL.

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