“Some of us are getting paid, the rest of us are just getting dead.”
So, You thought that Schwarzenegger would eventually retire on an Austrian alp, sitting on a terrace of a mountain hut with a big bierpul of “Kaiser Bier” within reach and a huge cigar between his fleshy lips while looking out over the valley, saying with a deep voice “Ich habe es Ihnen gesagt: Ich komme wieder”. Or that he’s wearing a bermuda and a Hawaiian shirt while sitting somewhere at the coast of California, getting a tan and looking out over the ocean. Well you were wrong. This former Mr. Universe and former governor of California came back with a rather explicitly violent action film. After the average film “The Last Stand” and the reasonably successful “Escape Plan” in which he and his eternal rival Sylvester Stallone turn up, I thought that this action-hero would call it a day. His contribution to “the Expendables” is as ironic as the film was intended.
But then they come up with this tough and bloody action movie in which John Wharton (Schwarzenegger) aka “Breacher” is in charge of a Special Operations Team that specializes in infiltrating criminal drug cartels. In another raid on a nest of drug traffickers, they manage to cram a portion of piled up drug money through a toilet drain, with the intention to recover it afterwards. However, the money appears to have disappeared and the team is suspended from active duty for a while so they can be subjected to an internal investigation about the alleged concealment of drug money. As members of this testosterone-charged team get massacred one by one in a beastly manner , Breacher starts together with detective Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) an investigation, to find out who is the real culprit.
“Sabotage” is fully in line with the other Schwarzy movies. Partially anyway. First, the performance of old Arnie is still the same: stiff, emotionless and poorly. I can’t understand that after all these years playing in American films, he still speaks with such a heavy Austrian accent. Not that his dialogues were so extensive formerly. It’s only Arnold who uses such bombastic w’s in witty phrases like “Get your weapons”, “Get down” or “Are they as big as your wifes …”. Or is it just his trademark after all these years and he remains stubbornly loyal to this quality ? Just to remain recognizable in between the majority of today’s action heroes. Additionally, you shouldn’t expect a lot of depth in his movies. The same counts for “Sabotage”. It’s just a series of brutal action scenes in old-school style.
What surprised me was the level of sadism and gore that was used in this film. Normally Arnold’s films are well packed with hard fight scenes and enormous shootings with innumerable victims. A wet dream for the average undertaker. Only in previous films they were economical with artificial blood. Mostly there wasn’t even a speck of blood in it. In “Sabotage” on the other hand it flowed richly and they even showed some terribly mutilated victims. Arnold has reached a certain retirement age and performances with enormous physical efforts are no longer obvious. His contribution in this film is limited to leadership and using automatic rifles. The excitement was reasonably good and I dare even say that the traumatized Breacher was realistically portrayed by Arnold. Who would have thought of Arnold exhibiting a bit of acting talent.
“Sabotage” is an average exciting movie but holds on to the same formula as we know from Schwarzenegger. However, I fear that those who saw this movie, already forgot what it was about after a week. Even an action-packed chase scene at the end can’t change the fact that the whole thing looks kind of lousy. The final twist, which is actually a logical consequence of the opening scene, isn’t exactly impressive. There were also some imperfections in this film. How the hell could they know that the missing sum was $ 10 million exactly ? They kept detailed records of this drug cartel ? Even the attempt to break the record of “The Wolf of Wall Street” (the frequent use of the F-word), began to work on my nerves after a while. And despite the fact that the team consisted of a bunch of professionals, it felt more like a group out of a kindergarten at a certain moment, who amused themselves with childish bullying. “Sabotage”: a raw and dark film with bloody scenes. According to David Ayer the film was sabotaged by the studio. They demanded to cut out half of the film. Whether this has ensured this film to become an average flick, we will never know.