action movie freak    




"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 vehicles!). It then moves into camaraderie and dominance, and trash talking:

BREACHER       So, when you arm the charge, don't blow your balls off.

MONSTER          Don't worry, they're made of brass.

BREACHER        Are they as big as your wife's?

Sabotage movie Lenco BearCat

The Action is explosive and the team demonstrates their skills when one of them lays on the ground to kill a shooter who's 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.

Sabotage movie hole in the wall shot

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 room/was 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 Bad Ass 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 dominance.

Throughout the movie they tell the back story (sort of) of what happened to Breacher's family. This scene below in particular is visually stunning but without more back story, it makes no sense why a woman is dressed like all the soldiers and why she 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.)

Sabotage movie Mexican police

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).

Sabotage movie DEA SOT Team

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 . . .

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" (Harold 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 Movie?). 

Olivia Williams Sabotage, Tyne Daly The Enforcer, Olivia Williams and Harold Perrineau in Sabotage

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.

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 gnarly 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.   


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