Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in a gargantuan action thriller. By his side, he has Josh Holloway, Terrance Howard, Sam Worthington, Joe Manganiello, Max Martini and Mireilli Enos. They all play a badass group of undercover DEA agents who go around the movie taking down drug dealers. I like that we have been blessed with a wealth of new films for Schwarzenegger to play. He may never win an oscar, but boy does the guy have tons of charisma. He creates another personal visage here in "Sabotage" and its part of the fun for the whole film.
On the other hand, anybody expecting another "Schwarzenegger" movie will be surprised. "Sabotage" is a dirty movie. "Sabotage" is an ugly movie. Its populated by terrible people, including the heroes we are supposed to root for. Not only is "Sabotage" an epic action thriller, its also dark film noir. Its a movie that is missing its moral center, as no character in this entire production has one. Its not the type of action we expect from Schwarzenegger. With Schwarzenegger movies, we expect cartoonish action, silly plots, crazy one-liners and lamented for a movie that not to be taken seriously. "Sabotage" represents the cold, gritty, dark action that also exist in the spectrum. I am amazed at how well Schwarzenegger handled everything he was asked to do.
We meet this DEA team in the midst of a mission. They are taking down a big group of drug lords when they come across a huge stash of money. They plan to steal some of it, split it evenly between the group, then create a diversion to wash away the evidence. Everything seems to be going well, until the money they hid is not in its hiding spot. Not only that, but one of their teammates was killed during the mission. The entire foundation of trust and respect the team had on the DEA evaporates, and the group members begin to question each other's loyalty. Especially when the group begins to die one-by-one. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Breacher, the teams leader, and he must find out who took the money and who is killing off his team of agents.
We have seen Schwarzenegger is R-rated action films before. We have even seen him tackle some gritty stories in his time as an action star. But "Sabotage" represents the darkest corner of his entire career, and like I said, I am amazed by how well Schwarzenegger handles himself. Schwarzenegger still carries that wonderful charisma in pockets of this film, but there is a stone-cold malice to his character that I found deeply intoxicating. It was so much fun to see Schwarzenegger out of his comfort zone, particularly in an action movie. If you are expecting typical Schwarzenegger, "Sabotage" is not it, but its still a ride worth going on.
The rest of the cast does good work here too. Breacher's team in this movie are not your usual cop movie heroes. There is a callous attitude among the whole group, a team of cops that you'd never want to cross. I like the dynamics of the group, I like it when the team is all together kicking butt in the movie. It is interesting that each member of the group is unabashedly crazy, and each actor is able to portray that level of craziness without every becoming hammy. Sam Worthington in particular is shockingly comfortable in this movie, and he displays some of his finest acting to date. Holloway, Howard, Manganiello, Martini and Enos all have great moments and I like that each member of the team shines at some point in the movie.
Director David Ayer does nothing by half-measures for his movie. The action pieces are grimey and the editing is stylishly in-your-face. The storyline may seem familiar, and it maybe hard to sit through a movie where you feel like you are not rooting for anybody, but "Sabotage" is worth a look. Much like any other Schwarzenegger film, its fun and it will breeze right by. If you are going to go dark though, you can't go halfway and "Sabotage" definitely does that.
FINAL GRADE: B