"The job bites back."
(28 March 2014) Director: David Ayer
Sabotage is a full-blooded Action Movie and hits all the
Action Movie Essentials. Opening on a female torture
victim, we then jump right into the
Action with a DEA bust on a Mexican drug cartel stash house.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's character "John 'Breacher'
Wharton" is the head of a DEA Special Operations Team (SOT). They are
riding up to a house in a
Lenco BearCat SWAT vehicle (love specialized
then moves into
camaraderie and dominance, and
So, when you arm the charge, don't blow your balls off.
Don't worry, they're made of brass.
Are they as big as your wife's?
The Action is explosive and the team demonstrates their
skills when one of them lays on the ground to kill a shooter
on the other side of a wall through a small hole they've blasted
near the floor. Head shot. Bam! The guy's down, just like that.
Impressive. Could you aim that accurately and quickly through an 8" max hole?
It's kill after kill—at one point they walk under a gap in the
ceiling where a bad guy above was just killed and someone warns
"Meat Shower" as blood (and guts?) pours down on them—Yeah, it's like that the whole movie. Action Movie Freaks
will love the non-stop, bloody-good Action.
The story is that the cartel tortured
Breacher's wife and son and killed them. It really doesn't
matter why (although the trailer makes you think it might be a
race against time to rescue them, which it's not). On this first
raid, Breacher's team steals
$10,000,000. It seems like they took it without the DEA knowing,
but then they get asked about it. Did/How did the DEA know they took
it? They were in constant contact with the DEA brass during the
raid so . . . helmet cameras? The ten million was a drop in the
bucket pulled off the stacked pallet of money that was in the
target, so why did they blow up the rest of the money? It's a
death sentence from the cartel for stealing some money but what
about blowing it up? It was pretty
original what they did to steal the ten million, but, when they try to
recover it, it's gone. Once the money is discovered missing from the
recovery point (they don't go into the hour after the bust and
who had the opportunity to take it), they are all suspended.
Breacher rides a desk for six months. There's a great
Arnold moment when Breacher proves what a
he is by lightning-quick disarming a fellow cop who is giving him shit about
possibly being corrupt (while they're in the men's room). Breacher
snatches the jerk's gun off him and flushes it in a urinal.
It's great! More
Throughout the movie they tell the back
story (sort of) of what happened to Breacher's family. This scene
particular is visually stunning but without more back story, it
makes no sense why a woman is dressed like all the soldiers and
is the shooter. It would have been an awesome tangled payback
'thing', but I don't even know who she is, who the guy she shot was, what he
was to her, or what he had to do with Breacher. (Maybe not the
fault of the script, rather, my audience that had 2 talkers to
the left of me and 2 in front, and someone behind me kicking the
chair . . . sigh.)
What it seems like the team has been doing
for the 6 months following suspension is drink, take drugs,
trash talk, play video games, fart, and give each other
tattoos. They hang out at a kind of Clubhouse/Office/Locker Room. When Breacher tells his team they are allowed back into active duty,
they do some training exercises. We get to know (a little) all the
various characters and their nicknames "Monster" (Sam
Worthington), "Sugar" (Terrence Howard), "Grinder" (Joe
Manganiello), "Neck" (Josh Holloway), "Pyro" (Max
Martini), "Tripod aka McNeely" (Kevin Vance), and the girl on the team who
doesn't get a nickname, "Lizzy" (Mirelle Enos).
When they celebrate getting back into the
action, the Team comes off as a bunch of rowdy idiots,
misbehaving in a strip club. Made me wonder if this is what the
real-life Secret Service Agents (who keep getting into trouble)
are like? Unfortunately, while
the SOT may be back on the job, they no longer
trust each other because no one knows who took the money. The next day, a hungover Pyro wakes up in his
RV and we see that he's locked inside and it's on the train
tracks with a train coming at full speed. Doesn't end well.
After his funeral, the team hangs out at Breacher's house. They've order a
stripper . . . normal behavior for a wake. Who shows up first instead is the
other female lead in the movie, "Investigator Caroline Brentwood"
(Olivia Williams), whom we met at the RV/train accident
site. On the plus side for showing strength, though she is
insulted, taunted, and baited, she stands up to everything they
throw at her. I failed to understand the animosity. They are
supposed to be on the same side . . .
THE not-so-ODD COUPLE
Investigator Brentwood aka "Caroline" is looking into how Pyro's RV ended
up on the train tracks. She reminded me of
Tyne Daly in
"The Enforcer" (you know, "Lacey" from Cagney & Lacey).
Both she and her partner "Jackson"
Perrineau) (you know, "Michael" from LOST) seemed
gay to me. What's gay seem like? Well, for her: the short hair,
sensible shoes, wearing suits, acting 'like a man', which to me
just means normal and not bimbo-y—something I'd like to see more of
in Action Movies (normal women instead of bimbos). For him: he
dresses well, seems enthralled with Breacher, even asks
Caroline about the sex and if Breacher has a six pack and how
big his penis is—Kinda gay, right? Had they made them both
gay, that would have been awesome, breaking non-negative gayness
into an Action Movie . . . Regardless, they were a great team
and I'd like to see more of them (Buddy
GOOD GIRL versus BAD GIRL
I was looking to this movie to have strong female lead
characters to balance out the portrayal of women as
two-dimensional boy toys and victims, and while Lizzy and Caroline are flawed/human, they
are strong. The 'Bad Girl' Lizzy is a bit of a trainwreck/Tasmanian Devil, giving a Drug
Dealer a blow job (not shown but spoken about) as part of being
undercover, and dancing (albeit half-heartedly and clothed) on a stripper
pole while they are all partying in the strip club. She's the
foul-mouthed take-no-shit wife of Monster. She drinks too much and does drugs
on the job (she even ingests/tests the evidence: liquid Meth). It's all taken in stride with this
bunch of undercover agents. She is just 'one of the
guys'. In a turn around, she's the cheater, trying to get out of
the house with condoms in her purse. In the end, she leaves
Monster for Sugar, and he cries!
LIZZY (to CAROLINE)
Sweetheart, you're so far in over your head. You need more than
a Glock and sensible shoes.
Caroline is the lead investigator/senior partner on her team
(over her male partner), she's the 'Good Girl'. The two women are central (after Breacher) to the story, while the men are just window dressing.
The movie is really about Breacher and Caroline, and then Lizzy
versus the team. This is progress (for women in Action
Movies). It does a lot to counterbalance the rest of the cast of
nipples. In fact, after Lizzy the hellcat kills 3 drug dealers
and makes it out of the opening stash house raid alive under a
hail of automatic gunfire, they at least have the sense to have
her change from her sexy lacy dress and heels into combat-appropriate gear.
Caroline dresses like a man for the most part (pantsuits
except for one skirt
suit), but they strip all her power away when they have her hand
an automatic weapon back to her partner saying it was getting
heavy—really, a career cop? She's not going to say that. Why'd
they have to have her say that?! And, they 'strip' all her
power away when they show her naked in a pool. You can't
see much, but you see enough to see her small breasts have big
nipples. Why'd she have to be swimming naked? If they'd have
shown any more after that, it would have been totally gratuitous.
Thankfully, when we see her next, it's in a dry robe and not
Nipple-opia. I really like that she's not young. She has
wrinkles and that's great. She's all about the job. Olivia
Williams' accent varies a bit. I thought she was English at
first, but then it gets Southern. The last thing that
takes away her power is when Breacher tells her "Just be a good
girl and walk away." And she does. This is so like an infatuated,
emotional woman, and not like the dedicated, relentless career
cop she seems to be. Disappointing but it goes a long way to
making Arnold's character more sympathetic.
MEN ON FIRE
The team seems to just hang out at home between raids. Then they start getting killed off
in bloody ways.
Once we get down to the last 3, the Action goes to a whole other
level. There's an insane street chase (with Arnold, like
Stallone in Cobra, shooting from the back of a pick-up truck),
and Lizzy shooting from the trunk of a car.
There's one hell of a
kill, and at the end of the movie an all-out gun fight where it seems like EVERYONE in the bar has a gun. The
Action is off the chain! The ending reminded me of Tony
Scott's masterpiece Man on
Fire. The whole movie was on fire, Action wise. In the end we
understand why Breacher did what he did. He ends up being the
Good Guy instead of the Villain. The Team, we hardly got to
know: violence-wise, the candle that burns twice as bright burns
half as long. Action Movie Freaks really love movies with
Teams with Nicknames/Avatars. Almost wish there will be a
prequel . . . Don't watch this international trailer if you
haven't seen it. They show everything.
SABOTAGE INTERNATIONAL TRAILER