Sabotage (2014) directed by David Ayer and written by David Ayer and Skip Woods. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington and Terrence Howard.
Synopsis: The story begins with John “Breacher” Wharton’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger) wife being tortured on camera by members of the cartel as he watches in distress. His son is also killed, however, this is not seen on the tape.
The story jumps to 8 months later as Breacher and his team of Special Ops DEA agents raid a cartel warehouse. They consist of: James “Monster” Murray (Sam Worthington) and his wife Lizzy Murray (Mireille Enos), Joe “Grinder” Philips (Joe Manganiello), Julius “Sugar” Edmonds (Terrence Howard), Eddie “Neck” Jordan (Josh Holloway), Tom “Pyro” Roberts (Max Martini), Bryce “Tripod” McNeely (Kevin Vance), and “Smoke” Jennings (Mark Schlegel). The team have conspired to smuggle 10 million dollars out of the warehouse, but things go terribly wrong after the money goes missing on completion of their mission.
Due to the missing money gaining the attention of their superior Floyd Demel (Martin Donovan), he suspends them after stringent questioning. After several months, Demel tells Breacher that he can have his team back. However, their previous actions do not go unnoticed as they begin to be killed off one by one in horrible ways. This gains the attention of FBI Investigators Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) and her partner Darius Jackson (Harold Perrineau). Nobody is safe, and Breacher tries to get to the bottom of it as well as seek retribution for what happened to his family.
My initial thoughts of this movie are of mixed emotions. I really like the work of David Ayer, and the writing of Skip Woods too. To date, Ayer has an impressive repertoire of movies such as: Harsh Times (2005), Street Kings (2008) and End of Watch (2012) under his directorial belt. That is not to mention Training Day (2001) and The Fast and the Furious (2001) as a writer too. Therefore, I have come to expect big things when I watch one of his movies.
However, this really was not his best work. Ayer always keeps to what he does best and writes/directs what he knows. He seems to always explore similar themes such as corruption, drugs and law enforcement. This is not a bad thing because he does them really well; however, this was certainly not a Training Day or End of Watch and just never really took off for me. It is a shame because there is an impressive cast in this movie.
To firstly discuss the supporting cast, Sam Worthington is virtually unrecognizable as James “Monster” Murray and I had to double take when I realised it was him. With a skin head and bushy beard, he is a million miles away from his usual appearance.
Terrence Howard also features as Julius “Sugar” Edmonds but I feel he is wasted in this role. Howard is capable of great things, and I was surprised the Oscar nominated actor took this role. The same can be said about Worthington despite the fact his performance was not disappointing.
The stand out performance for me, however, was Mireille Enos as Lizzy Murray. She did a good job of showing the volatility of her drug addicted and troubled character, and ultimately stole the show for me.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a fan favourite and will never really win anything for his acting. Whenever I see him in a role, I always struggle to take him completely seriously. As a result, I was surprised he was cast by Ayer. His cheesy one liners from previous 80s and 90s action movies seem unsuited to Ayer’s types of movies.
Overall, this was not a bad movie but just not a very good one. It certainly is not a movie I will see again.
By Robert Spence