Review for Sabotage (Dual Format Blu-ray and DVD)
Breacher is a DEA task force leader who during a raid on a drug cartel finds that $10million has been stolen. It is believed it is someone within the team, but no one knows who. Suddenly the team begin to be taken out one by one and everyone is a suspect. Who can they trust and for how long in this action packed ride from the Director of the critically acclaimed End of Watch.
This film should have been great. This should have been Arnie's return to form following the brief spoof-like cameos in The Expendables and slightly disappointing The Last Stand. The film is Hard-R and so it does not skimp on the violence and that was the genre that brought him to stardom in the 1980s with the likes of Commando, Terminator and Conan the Barbarian.
Sadly, the film is trying so hard that it fails. By all accounts, the film was originally an hour longer and more of a suspense drama than just the action and violence presented in this version. I did hope that a home release would lead to the inevitable 'Director's Cut', but that is not the case which is a shame.
My main issue with this film is that it is really brutal to watch. The violence throughout looks like something cut in from an Eli Roth movie and is very difficult to watch. I understand that it is needed to show just how much it has had an affect on the Breacher character, but I didn't enjoy the way the film lingered over these scenes and it made it very difficult to watch.
Schwarzenegger's performance is pretty solid throughout and you could imagine that he would be someone who would be in this kind of position. However, his ragtag group just seems strange. It would be like if James Bond went into MI5 and it was filled with violent skinheads who probably could get the job done, but probably wouldn't look the same in a tuxedo. The only two of the group who have any kind of character is Sam Worthington as Monster and Joe Manganiello as Grinder. The rest are just complete caricatures and even Olivia Williams as the investigating officer is just a bland cliche of the 'tough female cop' that we have seen in CSI, The Killing and other recent dramas.
Direction by David Ayer is competent throughout, the pacing is great and the editing of the action scenes is perfect without being a cut every two seconds. However, the actually plot of the film is just so cliche that you could predict everything that happened. As the characters are picked off one at a time it is true you will never guess who is behind it, but when you find out, you will kick yourself because of how utterly obvious it is. Again if the film had been longer and allowed to build up the suspense it may have been better, but it soon devolves into a typical action fest and there is simply none of the humour or over the top enjoyment that you could expect from an Arnie film... and no cool catchphrases either.
The Blu-ray comes with a Making Sabotage featurette which is fine, though really goes into why Schwarzenegger wanted to work with the Director and how much everyone seemed to enjoy making the film. I did expect more in regards to the action set pieces, but there is just this. Alternate endings and deleted scenes are all fine, though don't add much to the film. I do now wish that if something like this is included that they should also have commentary or a short explanation about what these scenes are and why they were cut.
Sabotage is not an awful film, it's just not a film that you would want to watch again. Unlike other action films that demand you to rewind a certain scene of cool action, this film does not have this. If they had allowed it to be the gritty suspense drama it feels like it should be, I might be saying something else, but this seems to have been sabotaged in the editing process... which is a shame. Yes, Arnie is back, but you might wish he wasn't.