20140514

A film review: 'Sabotage'

Origin: USA
Language: English
Director: David Ayer
Producers: David Ayer, Bill Block, Ethan Smith, Paul Hanson, Palek Patel
Writers: Skip Woods, David Ayer
Genres: Action / crime thriller
Casts: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams, Terence Howard, Joe Manganiello,
Harold Perrineau, Martin Donovan, Max Martini, Josh Holloway, Mirreile Enos
Release: March 28, 2014
Studios: Albert S. Ruddy Productions, Crave Films, QED International, Roth Films
Distributor: Open Road Films

Now THIS is the second film of the year that I watched in theatres; replacing Mamat Khalid's Apokalips X slot since TGV KLCC does not show the film there (BOO!), in a two-movie marathon that my brother and his friend had planned (his friend had literally come too far to just watch ONE movie, so we had to choose one). So you could say it's a random pick (since none of the other choices tickled us fancy), but it's not a bad movie, really; it's unexpectedly good! 

We didn't have any expectations at all; other than Arnie here is leading the ensemble cast (yeah, I simply call him Arnie 'cause typing his last name is just tiresome), so we think it should have that campy sense of joy. But boy were we totally wrong!

This film surprised me and my company of men a whole damn lot when we realised that this is just no Expendables rip-off (how ironic... because The Expendables itself IS an intentional rip-off to the best old-school cheesy actioners known to man). No, sir! Don't let Arnie's presence fool you into thinking that this is a no-brainer, popcorn action film. It's actually a very deeply thought out crime thriller, but bloody and gory still (heck, it's even more bloodier AND gorier than The Expendables)!

Let's talk about the basic premise first, as any other good review should. The film follows a band of DEA agents lead by John "Breacher" Wharton (Arnie) and their increasingly complicated conflicts as Breacher's men are slowly being executed one by one, right after a sabotaged drug cartel raid they have handled years back; and it's all Breacher's fault... and part of his plan to end a very personal vendetta he had with someone who took away something very near and dear to him.

My first reaction as soon as the film starts was this; I can't believe that Arnie is doing some actual acting! Really! In this film, the action is set to a bare minimum for him, so his acting skills is really being put up to the test, and all I can say is that... it's passable. He holds up to Breacher's inner demons in a very average performance. I'm no avid fan of Arnie, but personally, I think he's better off being corny in a corny action film than serious in a serious crime thriller like this as sometimes it just doesn't quite click with his I-can't-take-it-seriously accent. He's just not the kind of guy who is known for this kind of acting to go all emotional. But... good effort nonetheless.

While the other actors did a fine job at portraying their characters, I'm just no fan of its excessively profane and crude dialogues. I honestly have no problems with cussing really. But in a depressing film like this where both characters and plot lines are equally important, it's pretty hard to focus on the details that I need in order to understand the plot and characters better as the amount of cussing is much higher than the plot and character exposition itself. Maybe, just maybe, if it wasn't for the excessive swearing and sexually-charged dialogues, I can understand the plot and characters much faster and easier and NOT having my brother re-explaining the plot to me on repeated occasions after the film ended (I'm not kidding; he ACTUALLY did that!).

On the action side, as I said earlier, I did not have much expectations... other than Arnie and his association with guns, crashes, and explosions. As none of us had see coming, explosions are seen; but not as adrenaline-pumping as The Expendables. The actions are kept to a minimum (like I said earlier); just very brief yet intense gunfights, fist fights, car crashes, and horrifically, graphically-depicted grisly deaths of the DEA agents. Much of the film really just follow the exploits of Breacher and a female investigator named Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) for the cops who takes interest in the agents' mysterious deaths, the motives behind the killings, and later Breacher himself... romantically (which is just like TOTALLY unnecessary!). 

To end this review, let me tell you this; if you're expecting some trashy fun, please look elsewhere. This film is solely for an audience who wishes to reflect upon his sorrow and not for entertainment. If you still feel this is your idea of a good time though, then be my guest. You are more than welcome to feel depressed as much as Breacher does in Sabotage.

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