starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams, Terrence Howard, and others
written by Skip Woods and David Ayer
directed by David Ayer
Set in Atlanta, Georgia, Schwarzenegger plays John “Breacher” Wharton, a legendary, tough undercover Drug Enforcement Agency officer. In Sabotage, a crime thriller, Breacher and his team act more like a drug gang than anti-drug DEA agents. The story starts with the team stealing $10 million in cash from a Guatemalan cartel but making it look as if the cache is destroyed in a fire so that they could take it for themselves. So right away a twisted story line is set up. But when the team goes to pick up their money they find it gone. Someone has stolen from them after they stole it from the cartel. Is there a double agent? Does the DEA actually know about their plot and is trying to trap them? What gives? One by one members of the team are brutally murdered, so it looks like the Guatemalans know what Breacher did to them and they are hunting them down sequentially.
I wouldn’t say that the twist comes late in the story because the story twists and turns throughout. In the end it turns out that Breacher himself secreted away the cash, cheating his team members of their share and - who knows? - maybe he himself was the one who murdered them in insanely surgical order. I felt unsure about that. Breacher needs the money to bribe Mexican police into revealing the location of the Mexicans who brutally murdered his wife and son, and sent him a video of it. Of course, he’s successful and delivers his payback.
Sabotage is tough to watch first because the story is so implausible, and second because of the outrageous violence of it. The violence is modelled after Mexican drug cartels and ISIS terrorists who make videos of do-it-yourself beheadings with a hunting knife. The movie features a lot of gunshots to the head with no cutaways, so beware because you will be treated to scenes of dripping brain matter - literally.
In the end I regretted renting the DVD, but I watched it because this is Schwarzenegger’s fifth or sixth film since he retired from politics in 2011 and returned to movie making, and I am interested to see how he is adapting himself as an almost-70-year-old man to the action genre. He looks good for his age.