Sunday, March 30

Sabotage Review

Dir: David Ayer
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrance Howard, Josh Holloway, Olivia Williams, Joe Manganiello, and Mireille Enos

Maybe it’s nostalgia but Arnold Schwarzenegger is still the icon of the action film for me. Whether it’s the image of Arnold carrying a tree down a mountainside on his shoulder in “Commando” or uttering his signature catchphrase before the onset of violence in “The Terminator” but his character still captures my interest. With that being said Arnold’s recent film catalog, after serving tenure as the Governor of California, has been less than stellar with the exception of his minor casting in “The Expendables” films. In “Sabotage” Arnold is the leader of a group of unlikable Drug Enforcement Administration officers who are being hunted down one by one. Director David Ayer, whose last film was the rather good “End of Watch", unfortunately struggles to find anything more than gore and gunshots amidst a monotonous script.

The film begins with a foreboding scene of John “Breacher” Wharton (Arnold Schwarzenegger) watching a video of his family being tortured by a drug cartel. This transitions forward a few years to Breacher leading his team, who alternatively call themselves a family, into a luxury mansion and violently lay waste to everyone in their way. Breacher and his team are then placed under an investigation for some money that was lost during the raid. Breacher’s team, a group of roughnecks who each also have their own moniker, are targeted and begin to be hunted and gruesomely murdered by an unknown killer.

Ayer has a flair for composing his actions scenes with a unique perspective. Mostly utilizing handheld techniques that keep the action chaotic with a mix of versatile cameras that he can mount on the end of gun barrels or on the chest of a moving character. This allows the film to keep a dizzying and exciting pace throughout the film, however beyond his style Ayer doesn’t have much left to develop here. The narrative is a mix of clichéd action tropes with unsavory characters that don’t offer much more than unpleasant one-liners and door kicking muscle. When the action isn’t pulsating the film moves forward with a tiresome investigation that mostly involves gory crime scenes and forced plot turns.

The cast is a recognizable group of capable actors. Sam Worthington (“Avatar”) is most convincing as a timorous tough guy who goes by the handle Monster. Also involved are Terrence Howard (“The Butler”), Joe Manganiello (“True Blood”), and Josh Holloway (“Lost”) who mostly play background characters though each has a scene where they are given the opportunity to flex their macho sentiments. The two most interesting performances come from the only female actors. Mireille Enos (“World War Z”) has the most fun as the crazed, drug-addicted member of the team. Olivia Williams (“Anna Karenina”) is interesting as a detective investigating the murders and offers a nice balance for Arnold’s acting struggles.

While there isn’t much going for this film in terms of a story, the action is more than exhaustively excessive and hyper violent to fuel the expectations of the demographic willing to participate in nothing more than 110 minutes of carnage.

Monte’s Rating

2.00 out of 5.00

No comments:

Post a Comment