Sabotage review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
David Ayers’ films usually look at the inherent corruption or political aspects of a department of law enforcement and while End of Watch is a perfect example of the liabilities of beat cops under the guise of a police thriller. Sabotage however is a weaker film as it doesn’t have this subtext to rely on as the film revolves around a relatively closed off group of DEA agents whose devotion to the law isn’t quite as upstanding as the End of Watch idea of cops Ayers previously presented.
The film follows Breacher (Arnold Schwarzenegger), an elite DEA officer whose team of top notch tactical officers are responsible for some huge drug busts. When they rob a cartel the team is double crossed by one of their own who takes the money first. As members of the team start slowly dying in different ways they realise that someone is picking off members of the team from, either by members of the cartel or someone on their own team. Together with Caroline (Olivia Williams), the detective assigned to the case Breacher must find the person taking down their team and put them down.
While the film isn’t tightly plotted it is a whole lot of fantastical fun as it messes with the concept of heroes and villains as it presents a team just as culpable for their own failures as their successes. As they track their elusive hunter you wonder whether or not their deserve to find them, a question that only becomes more clear as the film goes on. Not only does the film proceed to turn you against its characters it also makes them swap personas on a whim as Sam Worthington’s Monster turns from hardened militia man to full blown useless cry baby in a matter of a few scenes. The whole thing is beyond a little preposterous.
Although it has its problems it is filmed in a very intimate and gritty way that highlights the films bloody tones and presents the action in a way that hasn’t been done before. Ayers manages to infuse the film with a sense of class and beauty despite the lapses in story and Schwarzenegger seems to be lapping up his career resurgence bringing life to Reacher despite the fact that on paper, he is nothing more than a bruiser looking for blood.