This was sabotaged from the start.
Members of an elite DEA task force find themselves being taken down one by one after they rob a drug cartel safe house.
From the guys who brought you End of Watch and Training Day. That tagline delivered so much promise BUT failed on so many levels.
From the opening, I felt like I joined the movie halfway through. It certainly grabbed my attention BUT only because I was so bloody confused.
It kept flashing forward as we follow a botched raid on a Mexican cartel safe house and the ongoing investigation after a $10 million overhaul went missing.
Considering the strong cast consisting of; Terrence Howard (Empire), Josh Holloway (LOST), Sam Worthington (Avatar), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Mirielle Enos (The Killing US) and Arnold “GET DOWN!” Schwarzenegger, I haven’t seen such an UN-interesting bunch of characters in quite some time.
The cliched macho talk and poor banter did nothing to win me over. The cartel stuff was so generic. It was merely used as a poor plot device to hide the inevitable backstabbing that would inevitably happen among the team.
This could have been a perfect platform for Arnie to have a pop at some serious acting. I couldn’t think of anybody better to play the head honcho of a dysfunctional and deadly team BUT I have to say that this was one of his most wooden performances to date. And that is saying something! He made something that should have been a sure thing on paper seem like such a stretch.
After watching Big Love and the American remake of the Killing, it made a change to see Enos play a drug addicted adrenaline junkie on the verge of a breakdown. Tragically, the more we saw of her character, the more annoying she got. So annoying in fact that I prayed for her swift exit.
Worthington’s performance was laughable from his mangled accent to his horrendous beard. A shame, really. His character was the only one that had a little bit of depth. Albeit, a cliched one.
The story line involving corrupt cops should have been writer David Ayer’s forte (by now) BUT alarm bells were ringing at the obvious plot holes – it had to be a team member that stole the payload. Because every other cartel member was butchered.
After a stupid BUT watchable first act, it took a good half hour before anything really happened. My curiousity was finally peaked when (out of the blue) a team member was bumped off in a highly gruesome manner. Olivia Williams’ (Rushmore) introduction was a much needed trigger and certainly got the ball rolling.
BUT I was too distracted by her nauseating accent. Her character was a total bad ass. BUT she caved into Arnie’s “charm” so easily and had a terrible sidekick in Harold Perrineau.
The wafer thin characters and agonizing pace didn’t do the movie any favours and even when the body count rose, my interest sank. The cloak and dagger stuff behind the task force had potential as Williams’ investigation was hindered by red tape.
I don’t mind dodgy and corrupt antagonists BUT I just didn’t care by the end. The Shield (one of my favourite shows) had me secretly rooting for the bad guys BUT the only rooting I did for Sabotage was for it to finish.
It felt like Ayer was poking fun at the very genre that he has been so accustomed to. For all their flaws, Harsh Times and Street Kings were solid efforts by comparison.
A dull story line with poor revelations was thankfully thrown out the window BUT replaced with an even more ridiculous shoot em up and a laughable street chase with incredibly dire techno video game music.
The ending was horrendous. It was supposed to be this big unravelling moment and a huge sombre footnote to the piece BUT it was just terrible. The overlong pace and poor storytelling literally left a stellar cast waiting around for Arnie to show more life than an IKEA table.
I’ve never been so disappointed in a Swarnie flick and it’s not as if the expectations were ever high in the first place.