Movie Reviews

‘Sabotage’: Brutally confusing

By Wang DexianMovies - 16 April 2014 12:00 AM

‘Sabotage’: Brutally confusing

Sabotage trailer

Our Rating

2/5 Stars

David Ayer's ‘End of Watch’ was one of the best films of 2011. Revolving around the lives of two LAPD officers who work the notorious South Central area of Los Angeles, it showcased some really strong emotional characters, an anomaly in the genre of cop movies.

Now, David Ayer is back with another tale revolving around law enforcement figures. This time, it's a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) elite spec ops squad, led by Breacher (Arnold Schwarzenegger). 

Breacher and his motley crew of agents with cool sounding names like Grinder and Pyro (played by a who's who of reputable actors such as Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard, Josh Holloway, Joe Manganiello, Mireille Enos and Max Martini) plan a heist – to get US$10 million from a drug cartel while busting that same cartel.

When the agents come back for the money, they realise that it's already gone. The team gets investigated to hell and back by the DEA. Eventually, the charges are dropped and Breacher gets his team back.

However, members of the team start dropping like flies. Is the cartel back for revenge or is there something else bubbling underneath the surface? 

In typical Ayer fashion, ‘Sabotage’ is full of energy, with his handheld camera work standing out in many of the film's ‘breach and clear’ close quarter combat sequences. It's also pretty violent.

For some reason, ‘Sabotage’ feels even more grim than ‘End of Watch’.

Expect lots of blood, corpses and spilled guts. It's gruesome and not for the faint of heart.

Ayer's worldview in this movie is particularly harsh and ugly. While ‘End of Watch’ focused on the two cops and their exploits, it also showed the pair's bond beyond work, including the impact of their work on their extended family and spouses.

With ‘Sabotage’, there's none of that. The team is comprised of pretty vile people all around, alcoholics and patrons of strip clubs.

There is something unorthodox in the way that these ugly beings can be so compelling, as if what they've seen and experienced have made them completely unable to assimilate into society.

This is also one of Schwarzenegger’s better recent performances. He doesn't do the typical Arnie-type humour that he's been typecast in; instead he plays it straight. He's almost impossible to read and has a grizzled Clint Eastwood vibe, making you wonder what he's been through. Compared to the rest of the cast, he puts in a relatively good showing.

This is where everything goes wrong. The plot should be a simple “whodunnit?” mystery, right?

We should expect a few twists and turns along the way. But no, ‘Sabotage’ is insanely complicated. It's nearly impossible to follow and upon reflection, nothing really makes any sense.

In the end, ‘Sabotage’ becomes nothing much more than some macho posturing and a long series of violent, un-purposeful murders.

Still, fans of well-directed police action will find something out of ‘Sabotage’ and if you switch your brain off, you may find Ayer's harsh blood, guts in your face approach unexpectedly bold.

‘Sabotage’ is now showing in cinemas

Movie Photos

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  • Sabotage

  • Rated
    R21 /
    Action, Drama, Thriller
  • Language
  • (1 Review)