Sabotage Movie Review
Arnold Schwarzenegger's triumphant return to acting last year proved one thing: the average moviegoer no longer cares for Arnold-esque action movie, nor do they care about him. People have moved on. So Arnold did what any smart actor would do: he changed his game. At least a little. Sabotage suffers from the same bad acting and clunky dialogue you'd expect from an Arnold movie, but with a gritty storyline and perhaps the goriest violence you'll see all year, the movie is just different enough to work.
Sabotage comes from David Ayer, the director of End of Watch--one of my top ten movies of 2012--and the writer of Training Day. He is a man known for dark, gritty fare, and Sabotage falls squarely into that category. People are nailed to ceilings with their intestines hanging out, brains explode and a man is impaled by a flatbed truck, but all of it contributes to this oddly captivating, off kilter action-thriller.
The movie doesn't have as much as action as you'd expect--Arnold is older and thankfully Ayer acknowledges it--as much of the movie plays out like a serial killer murder mystery more than it does an action movie. But Sabotage is hallmarked by several brutal action sequences that, while not memorable, still manage to get your adrenaline pumping.
Sabotage's biggest problem is that it starts out looking smart but slowly becomes more and more ludicrous as the story unfolds. Ayer largely abandons the whodunit mystery in one very odd scene that had the audience in my screening laughing, partially out of shock, partially because they suddenly realized what the movie really is: crazy.
The dialogue is painful at times and the acting surprisingly rough; Mireille Enos plays a pretty good badass, but it is over-the-top acting if you've ever seen it, and an almost unrecognizable Sam Worthington delivers the worst performance of his career. Arnold is fine but is intentionally more subdued than usual.
However, if you are able to accept these flaws for what they are--common occurrences in Arnold Schwarzenegger movies--Sabotage is a fun, crazy ride. Revel in the violence, in the gore and the insanity of it all, and you may just find yourself enjoying it.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.