Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
I guess that's that then.  Time to hang 'em up.  Call it.  The leading man days of Arnold and Sly and the rest of my homeboys are over.  It brings me no joy to say this, because if their day is done, then my day is done since these guys raised me.  I take my son to see 'Divergent', a full week after it's been released, and theater is still full.  Then yesterday, after being out all of a day, I go all by my lonesome to see this movie 'Sabotage', and it's just me and a couple of dudes - loyalist - strewn across the empty theater.  Almost nobody in this nation has ponied up to see this film.  Our day is done.  The action genre now belongs to melodramatic teenage girls and Men in Tights.  And Liam Neeson.  Need to examine that one.  It's too bad really because 'Sabotage' is a movie that puts the 'hard' into 'hardcore'.  This movie is brutal, and for a little while, completely outstanding.

Not too long ago, some really bad men kidnapped supreme DEA agent John 'Breacher' Wharton's wife and teenage son and tortured them to death.  They sent him a video of that torture.  One he watches like every day.  Does that sound healthy to you?  I'm really not one for the field of psychotherapy, but if ever there was a dude that needed to talk to somebody, it's this dude right here.

Fast forward a few months where Breacher and his team of extra crazy DEA agents are about to take down some drug lord.  They don't seem interested in taking any prisoners.  Not at all.  What they are interested in is taking a slice of that big stack of cash in the middle of the floor, of which they peel off ten million worth before blowing up the rest.  Wanna know what's great about this scene?  Agent Lizzy (Mirielle Enos), that's what.  How many people do you know that in one smooth motion can kick a guy in the nuts, backflip to her feet, disarm this dude, kill this dude, kill whomever else runs into the room, outrun bullets, hurdle bannisters like Lolo Jones, then switch out of slut gear into tactical gear in about eight seconds.  All while high on cocaine.  That's beyond awesome.   Two things though… that money they snatched seems to be missing from where they hid it, and worse still, the bosses at the DEA seem to know, to the penny, that Breacher's team stole this loot.  They just don't have any concrete proof.
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The DEA brass tries to sweat these guys, suspend them, grill them, threaten them, but these guys don't break.  Not even close.  After the suspension is lifted, now it is time for Breacher to get the band back together and get back to business of hunting down some drug lords.  Too bad somebody has decided to start hunting them instead. 

The first death looked like an accident, and the cop investigating this case, Detective Brentwood (Olivia Williams), was about to classify it as such.  The second death… not so much, and now everybody is on alert.  Who's killing these guys?  The cartel they stole from?  The same guys that killed Breacher's family?  One of their own?  It's a conundrum.  One that will be solved via death by all kinds of means.  Mostly bullet to the head though.  

So I can tell you right off the bat my problem with director David Ayer's film 'Sabotage'.  When it's all said and done and all that we know has come to light, it makes… no... freaking… sense.  You're thinking… wait… that person did this to those people because of what?  Couldn't this person have done this to those people long before this point?  Mind you, this person did tell us why they did what they did, but we needed a little more exposition on the 'why', and what I really needed was a lot more exposition on the 'how'.  Wait… those bodies ended up down there how?  And assuming it was the same person that did that other thing to those people… how in the hell did they pull that off?  Mind you, every single person in this movie is a badass.  Good guys, bad guys, waiters, homeless people… everybody.   My point being that you would be hard pressed sneaking up on me, being I'm a highly trained badass, and somehow nailing me to a ceiling.  Waitaminute… You mean to tell me this person can get out a rifle and headshot somebody from a half mile away, but can't headshot somebody who is twenty feet away across a parking lot?  Oh…  Yeah… that somebody must have their name above the title.  Makes no… freaking… sense.

Does this mean that we didn't enjoy 'Sabotage'?  Oh good heavens no.  We almost loved this movie.  Those things I just mentioned are the barrier between like and love, but this was about as good of a time, watching complete nonsense, that just about anybody could experience.  The first forty five minutes are just about pitch perfect.  David Ayer and his trademark, handheld gritty style is working, the dialog is abrasively funny, the violence is high, the characters are engaging… a romantic comedy should be so lucky to have the kind of chemistry that Max Martini, Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard, Josh Holloway, Mirielle Enos and Joe Manganiello had working together… and by the time our first agent bit the dust, we had a legitimate mystery on our hands that was both engrossing and harrowing.  At this point, me and 'Sabotage' are simpatico.

Then things slow down a little bit.  Oivlia Williams shows up investigating the crime, which is good because her character is a good one… despite a southern accent that was all over the place…her appearance sets up some more interesting stuff, and besides, we can't have these loons drinking, getting lap dances and shooting people in the head all day.  But there comes a point in the 'mystery' of this film, as our screenwriters have shown their hand, that I'm thinking whatever conclusion they eventually do arrive at, it won't be a satisfying one.  The narrative just went someplace that I, personally, did not feel was going to work.  It didn't.  It was insane nonsense.  But getting to that nonsense did include more badass action. Ever wonder why, during those crazy busy street shootouts, why innocent bystanders don't get shot or rundown or crushed… uh… they do.  At least they do here.  More awesomeness. 

Because of the narrative, I'm almost inclined to think that 'Sabotage' might be in need of a 'Director's Cut' or something… but that's unlikely, because most people spent their time avoiding this otherwise fine film, instead of watching it.  That's too bad.  We knew the grave had been dug, we knew the body had been placed in it, but we were avoiding throwing the dirt on it.  I'm afraid its time.
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