Not everyone who watched Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sabotage enjoyed the experience or the film too much, but in terms of the former California Governor’s comeback trail, at least it is a grownup film for his grownup fans. While waiting for the film to begin at the AMC Town Square 18 theater, the man in charge of the advanced screening made sure to tell those in the audience that the movie was rated “R” for a reason.
The same man also informed the assembled group that those with “screaming” babies would be asked to leave. After a spattering of applause, he reminded those with older children that this really was not a child friendly movie. The film started with a woman being tortured and once the scene ended, with a black screen, the audience is helpfully informed that 10 months have passed since the torture video was viewed.
Sabotage began in earnest with a DEA van loaded with men and guns driving hell for leather to a cartel mansion where there is a female DEA agent already inside, undercover. This team of geared up warriors is lead by Schwarzenegger, as John “Breacher” Wharton, and the members of his team in the van are all steroidal monster men who also suffer from an overdose of testosterone.
Somewhat surprisingly, Arnold is not the biggest member of this deadly group and despite his “loss” of stature this is a grownup film for grownup fans of Schwarzenegger who don’t want to see him in another Kindergarten Cop or Jingle All the Way type scenario.
Sabotage is definitely not child friendly and is heavy on action, blood and non-politically correct behavior. As the film moves forward, amid jokes about “farting” and talking about “payday,” the DEA agents smash through the mansion’s gate and enter the cartel’s hideout. As they are driving through the battered down ironwork, the female agent inside, comes out and suits up with her comrades.
Their mission is to kill all they come in contact with and to find a huge pile of cash in the building’s basement. As they prepare an exit, some of the team are bagging amounts of the money and sticking it down a toilet drain for pickup later. The total of cash that is “bagged” and stuck to a rope is $10 million. After covering up the drain with the toilet, they blow up the rest of the money. In the time it takes to steal their portion and cut their way out, one of the team dies in the constant firefight.
Everyone on the Breacher’s team are suspended after their boss’s somehow discover that $10 million is missing. While on suspension they enter the sewer system underneath the mansion and find that the money that was stolen has been taken by someone else.
After six months the government reinstate all the team. The reason given is that they gave up following cold leads. Breacher has his team of misfits back and they begin training. Suddenly, team members start dying in particularly nasty ways and it looks like this one-by-one murdering of team members will not stop until they are all dead.
The film turns into a murder mystery of sorts with Breacher trying to stop his team from dying while he figures out, with the help of a local homicide detective and her partner, who is behind the deaths. His team turn on each other as the pressure increases along with the body count.
This film was a step backward for Arnold, directed by David Ayers (End of Watch) who co-wrote the film with A-Team writer Skip Woods, which follows a tried and tested formula which will be familiar to Schwarzenegger fans. While one reviewer has declared that the film’s plot is just Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians it really feels like a “monsterless” Predator type plot. Arnie is the tough leader of a group of equally tough professional killers who sees his group get killed off one by one. Sounds very familiar. This grownup film for the grownup fans of Schwarzenegger will undoubtedly be enjoyed by them. The same fans will love this action fuelled trip and they’ll be surprised at just who the murdering monster is. The film opened in theaters across the country on Friday March 28.
By Michael Smith
AMC Town Square 18