- Rob Carnevale
- 9 May 2014
Arnold Schwarzenegger's presence weighs down what should have been a gritty thriller
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s post-governorship acting comeback appeared to be heading in an intriguing new direction when he signed on to star in David Ayer’s gritty thriller Sabotage. But despite some decent moments the film struggles to realise its potential.
Arnie plays the leader of an elite DEA task force who successfully executes a mission to relieve one of the most feared cartels of $10 million, only to find that the money disappears and members of his team are being picked off one by one. The question is whether it’s the cartel – which is also responsible for the death of his family – gaining revenge or a member of his own unit.
Ayer’s film, based on a script by Skip Woods, opens strongly and boasts a good supporting cast (including The Killing’s Mireille Enos, True Blood’s Joe Manganiello and Avatar’s Sam Worthington) but becomes caught between delivering what is expected of a Schwarzenegger action vehicle and keeping to the gritty realism of Ayer’s past and best work (eg End of Watch and Harsh Times).
What starts out as an interesting premise, quickly feels like a procession through various crime scenes with a big reveal that isn’t as smart as it thinks it is. Indeed, plot holes abound once the dust has settled but even then Ayer still finds time to give his leading man a trademark one-man-against-the-odds finale.
Audiences will surely view this as a missed opportunity, especially since the whole endeavour fails to stand up to much scrutiny. It’s a case of a decent premise sabotaged by its own absurdities.
General release from Wed 7 May.