Sabotage | Pittsburgh City Paper


If you just want a loop of hollered curses and gruesome deaths, David Ayer's actioner is serviceable

He's back: Arnold Schwarzenegger
He's back: Arnold Schwarzenegger

In 2012, director David Ayer made the kinetic, amusingly profane cop-shopper, End of Watch. But his latest, Sabotage, pretty much just lives up to its name. It's meant to be a kinetic, amusingly profane actioner, but it's undermined throughout by incoherent plotting and video-game dialogue. (If you just want a loop of hollered curses and gruesome deaths, though, it's serviceable.)

Sabotage is buttressed with one huge star — Arnold Schwarzenegger — and a complement of recognizable planets (Sam Worthington, Mirelle Enos, Terence Howard) orbiting that fading sun. (Say what you will about the 66-year-old former governor, but the audience ate up his familiar quippy macho-man performance with relish.)

Schwarzenegger plays Breacher, the leader of a special-ops DEA task force whose members, when not busting down cartel doors, get rad tattoos, booze and make a lot of off-color sex jokes. In other words, they're a family — at least until the $10 million they stole goes missing, and they tear each other apart looking for the traitor.

This brings in the Atlanta PD and its no-bullshit homicide detective (Olivia Williams) who, in some of the film's best scenes, butts heads with Breacher. (This is also the film's only female role that isn't a stripper, bar girl, victim or highly sexualized DEA agent.)

Somewhere in Sabotage are the bones of a better film, one of those darkly comic early-'90s pieces where groups of criminals self-destruct. But like Sabotage's $10 million, any decent aspects have disappeared down the sewer.