Does Arnold “Arnie” Schwarzenegger still has what it takes in the action-thriller-drama Sabotage?
(USA 2014, director: David Ayer)
A group of special DEA forces is accused of having stolen money, and after a failed investigation put on hold, they’re killed one by one, and it’s up to detective Lizzy Murray to find out if it’s a drug cartel or one of head honcho John ‘Breacher’ Wharton’s gang who’s doing the killings.
After a no-strings-attached explosive beginning, things slow down a bit, and one will be disappointed if expecting a classic Arnie action movie. It has more drama and thriller elements, although there are still some great shootouts and an especially bloody finale. But does the mix work?
To a certain extent, the investigative elements and especially showing off the mutilated victims evoke an almost serial killer vibe, although suspenseful moments are rare. This might be due to many flashbacks which at some points in the story play rather nicely with the audience’s expectations, or it has to do with more emotional drama parts mixed with a gungho bro attitude.
Schwarzenegger does a decent job at portraying a broken man who tries to overcome the loss of his family tortured to death, but also as someone who’s determined enough to protect his other “family” and/or find the cartel responsible for these atrocities. It’s only too bad that the rest of the cast is the standard (and often obnoxious) cursing hoodlum gang, and the less-than-suitable-for-the-job police detective isn’t much likeablee either, although it makes for an interesting counterpart to the more violent world of drug wars.
All in all, Sabotage is a good movie with some outstanding action scenes and a suitable ending (although the alternative ones on the disc are also quite interesting to watch). It’s only let down by its almost 2 hours running time and often incongruous genre mix in addition to many unlikeable characters.
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