"Sabotage" Review: Craig's First Take

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Members of an elite DEA task force find themselves being taken down one by one after they rob a drug cartel safe house.
2.5

Stories about cops come naturally to David Ayer. Corrupt cops (“Training Day”, “Dark Blue”), the brotherhood of cops (“End of Watch”), the special brand of cops (“S.W.A.T”), he seems to know a lot about cops. Not so much with DEA agents though. His “Sabotage”, which he co-wrote with “Die Hard”-rapist Skip Woods, tries to be a psychological thriller, tries to be sort of a western, tries to be a drug cartel thriller but hardly gets any of it right.

All we know is that the hard road back to movies for Arnold Schwarzennegger is going to continue here as he plays DEA agent Beacher, the leader of a drug enforcement team accused of stealing nearly 10 million dollars at the beginning of the film. Whether they did it or not isn’t all that relevant until the end, all we have to know is that someone is pissed off that it was taken and so they are hunting Beacher’s raunchy, grungy ten member team (this movie is very very very loosely based on Agatha Christie’s “And then there were None”).

Ayer is awesome when it comes to filming gritty shoot-outs in urban dwellings as Beacher’s team decides to go on the offensive. It’s too bad most of the time they seem to be waiting to get picked off, the only real payoff here being the pool of blood each one leaves. Joe Mangianello, Terrence Howard, Sam Worthington, and Josh Holloway play some of the team but most are out-acted by Merrielle Enos (“The Killing”), who’s kind of a sexy blend of crazy and ruthless here. Olivia Williams is also on hand as a homicide detective assigned to the team’s murders as they happen.

The biggest problem here is Schwarzenegger, who’s called upon to act way more than do what he’s good at, which is quip and blow guys away. His character gets a backstory of a wife and child murdered, which is pretty much a variation on nearly every character he’s ever played, and he seems to show more favor to the cigars he keeps smoking throughout the film than to his dead family.

You have to wait til the end for the movie’s best scene; a bar room shoot-out in Mexico where he finally takes out revenge. Only before that the film is pretty much non-eventful, sloppy, and a poor use of the talent involved.