Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams, Terrence Howard, Mireille Enos
Director: David Ayer
Writers: David Ayer, Skip Woods
Producers: David Ayer, Bill Block, Ethan Smith, Paul Hanson, Palek Patel
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Ultraviolet, Color, Widescreen
Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1)
Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Studio: Universal Studios
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016
David Ayer has another film coming out this year that isn’t a cop drama/action film, which previously appeared to be his only genre. As if attempting to make up for the fact that one of his films doesn’t have his usual, Ayer started out the first quarter release of 2014 with Sabotage, an onslaught of awful crooked cop film clichés and a poorly written vehicle for Arnold Schwarzenegger to show us his acting chops. It seems to aspire to be for Schwarzenegger what Copland was for Sylvester Stallone, but falls short in just about every way possible. Even though Schwarzenegger holds his own as a dramatic actor, a few of the supporting roles are comically cartoonish.
The storyline for Sabotage is actually remarkably simple, though the presentation is so convoluted that it gives the perception of intelligence for the first half of the film. Many of the film’s attributes are similar to Ridley Scott’s abhorrent The Counselor; with a great deal more shouting and fewer metaphors in-between the scenes of shocking violence. The film opens with a DEA task force storming a Mexican drug cartel safe house, led by veteran cop Breacher Wharton (Schwarzenegger). The team uses the raid as a cover to steal $10 million from the cartel, but this leads to each of them being killed off, one-by-one.
I could go into more details about the intricacy of the relationships in the task force, which include a dysfunctional married couple and a number of roughneck thugs in varying shapes and sizes. There are a lot of talented actors filling these roles, but most of the time they are overshadowed by the overacting of a few bad apples in the bunch. Unfortunately, I barely remember Terrence Howard, Josh Halloway or Max Martini because they share nearly every scene with Mireille Enos, who gives a theater performance for a film. She doesn’t just chew the scenery, she devours her every scene partner with a poisonous energy that makes me shudder just to think about. Not since Jar Jar Binks have a longed so bad for an obnoxious character to be removed from an otherwise still ‘just average’ film. I longed for more sequences of grisly violence, just for a break from the aimless screenplay of scenes filled with characters just yelling back and forth amongst each other about something none of them know.
The Blu-ray combo pack release of Sabotage comes with a DVD and an HD digital copy of the film. Exclusive to the Blu-ray are alternative endings, with additional deleted scenes included on both DVD and Blu-ray. There is also a generic making-of featurette. These limited special features seem to indicate the studio’s lack of faith in this film, despite all of the elements which could have resulted in a far better film.
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 1/10
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