Thursday, 31 July 2014

Sabotage (2014)



The film previously known as 'Ten' and 'Breacher' both of which make little sense...well 'Breacher' is Arnie's character but 'Ten'? because there are ten members in Arnie's team? nope there are nine. So the film was wisely renamed 'Sabotage' which also makes no real sense but I guess it sounds cool.

Yeah Arnie is back...again, and this time he's R rated! After some dismal post Governor flicks I was hoping for a return to the old days with Arnie and some proper ass kicking action drenched in bloody squibs. Alas this movie certainly has the blood and action (at times) but it feels empty forced and too self indulgent. I really get the impression director Ayer wanted to recreate that classic 'Predator' team of hardasses with Arnie as their leader...mainly because that's what it is. Arnie in charge of a crack team of special Ops DEA agents with more guns, muscles and tattoos than you can shake a stick at.

Oh my does this movie rehash that old hat idea that Mr James Cameron gave us many moons ago, you know what I mean, an elite team of foul mouthed cocky gun totting grunts. I've seen many films with ice cool teams of super mercs/soldiers/warriors, but I haven't seen a film try as hard as this one to force down our throats how butch these guys are. The profanity is constant and really unnecessary, each cast member really over acts in a cringing way, token black guy, token tough semi ugly female, each one has some kind of cliched visual gimmick to distinguish themselves from each other (facial hair, attire, tattoos etc...), each member has a silly code name or nickname ('Pyro' 'Grinder' 'Monster') and they are all pretty unlikable.

Manganiello's character is so extremely over the top and unstable you wonder how on earth he could ever function in a team like this. Did this character really need to wear black spiky leather biker gear, shades and have tattoos plus cornrows in his hair??! Its like the costume folk got over excited and just chucked a whole load of stereotypes into this one character to make him as 'badass' as possible. Instead he looks like a mish mash of ideas and quite idiotic...although not as much as Worthington's laughable facial hair.

This is a real problem in the film because you don't know who to get behind, these guys are suppose to be the main characters or heroes yet they are all shits. Going to strip bars...verbally assaulting the dancing girls, smashing glasses, getting loaded and high followed by attacking the security guys?! They're all very aggressive and don't have much compassion for anybody acting no better than the bad guys they are taking down. Now I realise you could say its showing the temptations, moral dilemmas and realistic possibilities of corruption in certain individuals under such circumstances but it really makes for a nasty sour team of 'heroes'. The only character with any sort of positive outlook or integrity is of course Arnie's leader character unsurprisingly, yet his actions bring about the downfall of his elite team! Its not until the end that you find out why Arnie does what he does and even then you're thinking wow! why didn't you just ask your team to help you instead of screwing them all over.

The other main issue with this film is the violence which, like the characters, is exaggerated and kinda repulsive really. Now lets get one thing straight here...I like my adult action flicks, I much prefer to see Arnie and the classic 80's action men in grown-up fare, but this film just gets it wrong. The whole angle here is realism, the film is trying to be a gritty 'Seven' type thriller with dark twists and turns. The problem is the gore and blood is lingered on far too much as if Ayer is just trying to show it off, they are glorifying it for the sake of it...which is fine if this were a silly graphic novel style action romp like 'Commando' but its not. The film is suppose to be soaked in dark realism yet innocent people are killed willy-nilly as if this were a videogame, Arnie's team get iced one by one very easily all things considered and in general society gets torn up like a Die Hard flick with no consequences. Basically in this type of movie less is more with the violence, but the fact the good guys aren't really too different from the bad guys and they all go around wreaking havoc...kinda leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

I won't deny I was intrigued to find out who did what and what was going on but overall it felt very downbeat and unexciting. Arnie does his best at serious acting (ahem!) but he still seems frosty after his leave of absence. End of the day this is just another larger than life, last man standing ensemble movie where Arnie merely chomps his cigars and attempts to blend in with the younger fitter cast. He looks the part but age has definitely caught up with Arnie I'm afraid. I just wish this special Ops DEA team had been more agreeable and the plot had gone a different more traditional route. May not have been very original sure but at least Arnie would be in familiar territory which is kinda where he works best really.

4/10