‘Sabotage’ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated October 7th, 2014 at 1:39 am,

Sabotage Movie Reviews starring Arnold Schwarzenegger Sam Worthington and Joe Mangienello Sabotage Review

If not for the strength of the cast and crew, Sabotage wouldn’t even be worth a mention.

Sabotage makes the bold attempt of re-imagining Agatha Christie’s seminal murder mystery novel And Then There Were None as a modern crime-thriller about a DEA special forces team that attempts to rip off a cartel, only to find their stolen loot missing and big target on their backs. After clearing departmental scrutiny, John ‘Breacher’ Wharton (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is finally given clearance to let his team of mad dogs out of the kennel; problem is, no sooner are they back on active duty when a mysterious assailant begins picking them off one by one.

As their numbers dwindle, Breacher’s team starts coming apart at the seams – openings for homicide detectives Caroline (Olivia Williams) and Jackson (Harold Perrineau) to exploit, as they attempt to work out what this fringe team of agents is hiding – hopefully in time to save the remaining survivors.

David Ayer is, by now, a brand unto himself; if a film has to do with hard-boiled tales of law enforcement along the California/Mexico stretch, there’s a 2 in 3 chance he’s involved. With that brand come certain trademarks and expectations (morally questionable cops, dark and gritty insight into urban crime, scenes of brutal violence) and in that respect, Sabotage does deliver the Ayer experience. As a piece of cinema, however, it’s unforgivably bad and manages to squander one of the best ensemble casts you could gather.

The cast of Sabotage 2014 Movie Sabotage Review

The cast of ‘Sabotage’

Schwarzenegger is still showing his age, but he is surprisingly restrained in the film; his performance (and the film as a whole) is light on actual action or stunt work, so calibrate expectations accordingly. Behind Arnold, however, stands a strong collection of talent that really carry this film. Sam Worthington (Avatar), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Josh Holloway (Lost), Max Martini (The Unit) and Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow) are electric fun as Breacher’s squad of unruly badasses – and Mireille Enos (The Killing) manages to stand at the head of that pack as Lizzy (she pretty much walks off with every scene she’s in). Added bonuses like Williams (The Sixth Sense) and Perrineau (Lost) only bolster things further; casting was never the problem, here.

What is the problem is Ayer’s execution as a director and the script that he and Skip Woods (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Swordfish) fashion out of Christie’s source material. Ayer has a short filmography as a director, but films like Street Kings didn’t bring him much acclaim. The found-footage style of End of Watch provided a fresh perspective on the buddy cop film format, but Sabotage has a look like Ayer’s couldn’t decide on a stylistic choice for his latest work. Traditional film segments look very at odds with digital segments that look like a home movie project; the framing and blocking is bafflingly amateurish, and the editing is sloppy. Basically this film – with its experienced director, talented cast and action icon leading man – looks like someone’s weekend home movie project. 

Olivia Williams in Sabotage 2014 Sabotage Review

Olivia Williams in ‘Sabotage’

The murder mystery story turns to complete goop by the final act, generating more confusion about what actually happened than satisfaction or closure. Ridiculous flashback gimmicks try to keep the journey interesting and surprising along the way, but the so-called “twists” in the film are all dead on arrival, leaving little room for revelation, development or proper earning of the film’s violent resolution.

Those just hoping for just some good-ol’ action fun – you get one major shootout set piece, a couple small sequences, plenty of blood, gore and foul language and that’s about it. Most of the film is cops of different orders tough-talking in between trash-talking, and while there some gems of dialogue in there, it’s not exactly the action thrill-ride many fans were probably expecting.

What else is there to say? If not for the strength of the cast and crew, Sabotage wouldn’t even be worth a mention. As it is, y0u’d be taking your chances even viewing this as a rental. Arnold said he’d be back, but the count on his comeback vehicles currently stands at a disappointing 0-3 success rate.


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Sabotage is now playing in theaters. It is 109 minutes long and is Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use.


Our Rating:

1.5 out of 5
(Poor, A Few Good Parts)

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
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  1. Arnold, make Legend of Conan! It should have been your first film back.

    …but make it dark and serious!

    • …by the way, I am surprised this film is getting such bad reviews, as the trailers for it do make it look interesting. Too bad.

      Again, Arnold…focus on Legend of Conan and do it right!

    • Exactly, I mean where do you get off giving this a 1.5, Kofi? C’mon, give a 2 at least for watchability. It’s not like it’s boring. It’s pretty fun stuff. You don’t have to give it a 5 like me, but you got to give it a 2 or higher. I’d say 3 or 2.5 is fair. Richard Roeper gave it an A-, for crying out loud. Wake up!

  2. Escape Plan is a very solid movie. Underrated and a future classic.

    • I also enjoyed it, for what it was, but I certainly wouldn’t call it a “classic”.

      For me, “classic” Arnold movies are Conan, Predator, and Terminator, in no specific order.

      • What about Commando and Total Recall? They’re dumb but I like them.

        • Commando has classic one liner after classic one liner. Love that film.

        • I like most, if not all, of Arnold’s action movies, and back in the day, I even enjoyed his comedies, like Twins and Jingle All The Way. Also near the top of my list would be Total Recall, Running Man, and Commando. I reserve the description “classic”, however, for Conan, Predator, and Terminator. All of those also generated franchises.

          • The 1st. Predator movie. Still on my DVD collection.

    • Absolutely, it was a lot of fun, i left the cinema with a grin on my face. I thought it was one of Arnie’s best roles, to be honest. I enjoyed The Last Stand as well, really liked it. It’s no I Saw The Devil, and the villains are terrible, but the camera work and some other details were really good, i thought the acting from Arnie was surprisingly good too.

      • I don’t doubt that some of the dislike and poor reviews of his comeback films are due to his age, politics, and/or infidelity. In the end, it’s all about what we, as fans, think, not what critics have to say, but the fact is that none of his recent movies have been a major success, at least here in America. They may be making money worldwide, but only marginally. I’ll say it again and again, though…I really do believe that a dark and serious Legend of Conan would be a success. Time will tell.

        • Well, except Expendables 1&2. Those movies are keeping all those geezers afloat. And by geezers, I mean, beloved action stars, of course. Cough Willis is a geezer

  3. yea saw it last night and was VERY disappointed. this thriller exposes itself midway through. it was my least fav David Ayers experience. i usually miss his movies in theaters and catch them on dvd and wish i would have seen them in theaters; this I could have lived without.

    btw terrane howard was my only real problem with casting. he doesnt fit the “45 y/o still wearing durags and bandanas”

    however i DID like the ‘aged Arnold; scences. he now works out in a t-shirt, 25 years ago he would have done all those scenes bare chested.

  4. I thought this looked pretty good in the trailers, and when I saw the whole cast I thought it had real potential. Unfortunately thats where it ends… The trailer makes it look like it’s movie about Arnold and his team of rouge DEA agents going to war with the Cartel to get his wife and child back… that’s the movie I wanted to see but not what I got. Maybe its my fault I should have looked into it more, but I still feel deceived.

    but hey who am I kidding… we’re just killing time until the Winter Soldier

  5. I’ve said here before that I’m kind of a sucker for bad thrillers or action flicks. Sometimes the worse the reviews the more I want to see it.

    So after reading this my interest in seeing the movie has actually increased.

  6. Go take a look at Skip Woods’ filmography. That dude is a career/franchise killer.

    • Agreed. If there are 2 words that any movie fan should be afraid of it’s “Skip Woods”.

    • He hasn’t done a single thing that’s worth watching, i have no idea how people like him, who contribute nothing of value, keep getting jobs. It’s a mystery.

  7. Yah, I wasn’t too thrilled with the movie, but I did enjoy it mainly because the characters were actually pretty cool. Very much enjoyed Arnold (of course), Sam Worthington, Joe Manganiello, and Max Martini…

    There were some plot points that they just left completely open and unanswered, it was weird. It’s almost like they meant for something more, but somehow a lot of stuff got edited out or something, I don’t know. Maybe just poor film-making…

    • Oh, but I did get to meet Arnold at the screening because Arnold and Joe kind of showed up to surprise us, lol. So that definitely made it better too. :-P

      • Congrats dude, that is totally bitchin’.

  8. Eventual Netflix material on my list.

  9. Arnold fails yet again. Immense pressure now on his reboots coming next. If conan reboot flops then he is done. Too bad. Scripts and direction are letting him down, otherwise there is no reason with his fame that he cannot be a part of hit movies today..

  10. Im going to see it. I really liked “The Last Stand”. Not every movie needs to shoot for an oscar. Sometime a good guilty pleasure is good enough.

  11. Good shoot em up,with a crazy b*tch. Did like the end.

  12. Wow. There was nothing unattractive about this movie. Right cast, story components and director behind it. But I trust Kofi’s judgement on the movie. I’ve agreed with a lot of his reviews so I’ll be avoiding this in theaters.

  13. Seriously, does anybody go into the theater expecting Oscar worthy performances with movies like this? Dunno about y’all, but I’m looking for some T&A surrounded by mindless violence and gun porn. Looks like this movie delivers.

    • Don’t listen to him. Sabotage isn’t sexy trash. It’s action art!

  14. Could it be that the movie’s choppy look, action, acting and story, is due to the fact that David Ayer’s original cut of the movie was a lot longer (apparently closer to 3 hours) and its emphasys was as mentioned in the article on the mysstery aspect of the plot. Apparently Ayer intended this movie to be a mystery thriller, but the studio insisted on this theatrical cut currently screening. It is focused more on the action aspects of the movie and cut large swaths out of the original plot and storyline. That might explain the problematic editing.

    Perhaps if the original cut David Ayer filmed had made its way to the movietheatres, it might have had more success and gotten better reviews…

    • Could be, there were things in the movie that were brought up, then totally not followed up on, leaving large gaping plot holes. If what you’re saying is true, then the full version should explain a lot of those and might make it a better movie…