Continuing the ‘post Governator’ era of his life, Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in this 2014 action thriller, directed and jointly written by David Ayer. Ayer was the writer of ‘Training Day’ but moved into directing in 2005 with ‘Harsh Times’ and 2012 ‘End of Watch’.
Sabotage stars Arnie as leader of a highly ranked DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) team. The group includes Sam Worthington (Avatar, Everest), Terence Howard (Iron Man, Prisoners), Joe Managniello (Magic Mike, Spider Man trilogy) and Josh Holloway (Tucker frerom Lost).
The film opens with the group storming a house of a drugs cartel only to find a huge amount of money stashed in the basement. The team takes $10M in cash from the stash and hide it only when returning to take it, find it gone.
As the team attempt to try and find out who took the money, they also find themselves the target of an assassin who is slowly taking them out one by one. The group are supported in this by a homicide detective pairing of Brentwood (Olivia Williams – An Education, Ghost Writer) and Jackson (Harold Perineau – also was in Lost)
This film isn’t bad. Its the right sort of role for Schwarzenegger in this phase of his career and he creates a believable character in the role of John ‘Breacher’ Wharton. He’s also surrounded by a good ensemble cast around him in his team – Warburton especially does a very solid job in his role.
It’s well directed and well edited (there are some interesting camera shots thrown in and the editing around a visit to a team members home between present and past is well done).
This film does however lost its way rapidly in the 3rd act. Having laid out all of the mystery, background and characters, it struggles to bring it all back together in a way that resolves the mystery in a way that makes sense. Where we find ourselves is a mess of an ending that does’t really make too much sense. Although it tries to make sense of it all with the final scenes, the reality is that by that point it is lost entirely.
And thats a real shame. I had a sense watching this that with its cast and that this had the potential to point to how Arnie could find a new lease of life in movies. Rather than an attempt at recreating some of the 80’s chaos (such as his work in The Last Stand or Expendables 3, this had the potential to be a well rounded thriller.
What we end up with though is a half decent thriller with a bit more gore and a bit less logic than was needed. A better 3rd act and this could have easily been his best output in near 20 years.