One Man Arnie
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington
Review written by Tom Bevis
When The Last Stand struck theaters nearly a year ago with gallons of cantankerous nostalgia and high-octane grit, many folks on the streets were speculating whether or not Arnold Schwarzenegger would be pitching his tent in Hollywood and focusing on reestablishing his acting career full-time. Even back then, I maintained that The Last Stand was, essentially, a stretching exercise before he got into full sprint. Judging by all this Terminator: Genesis news and his latest picture, Sabotage, it would appear as if I were right.
Sabotage is a turn-around tale of deceit and intrigue centered around John “Breacher” Wharton (Schwarzenegger) and his crack team of DEA agents, a colorful crew of freaks and misfits with equally colorful nicknames: Monster (Sam Worthington), Sugar (Terrance Howard), and a host of others. Paranoia and suspicions run rampant when Breacher realizes his team members are the target of an collective organized assassination, a matter made more complicated by the introduction of homicide investigator Brentwood (Olivia Williams).
In stark contrast to last May’s The Last Stand, Schwarzenegger is on form in terms of acting in this film. While not perfect, he’s steps ahead of himself from this time last year and manages to successfully carry the screen in each and every scene he’s featured in. The same can equally be said for his supporting cast, all of whom take their roles as seriously as human possible and do their best to save a picture built around the skeleton of one of the laziest scripts ever written.
The script is a half-assed meandering mess full of false-starts and fake mystery, the plot consisting of a series of murders tied together with measly threads of irrelevant clues. By the conclusion of the film, everything comes into focus through the lens of non sequitur, just one step below dues ex machina, not unlike the big reveal at the end of any given episode of Scooby Doo. In fact, I would nearly liken this to 2008’s Righteous Kill or it’s equally dreadful cousin from the same year, 88 Minutes, only not so unabashedly abrasive.
The action in the film – the flow of suspense from scene to scene and the cinematography to support and capture it are passable, hindered only by the sheer nonsense of the script. Sabotage is a film that desperately tries to be something worthwhile, and thanks to the fantastic cast and adequate director, it quite possibly could have done so, if the scriptwriters behind it had only put in half as much work as everybody else.