DVD Review: Sabotage

David Ayer has had a hand in two of the best cop films ever made – Training Day and End of Watch, so I was quite excited when I first heard about Sabotage. A dark, gritty film about an elite group of undercover DEA agents, starring 80’s action films legend Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ok, so the fact that Arnie was in the film, wasn’t actually a selling point for me. Sure the guy has done some recent work that has been enjoyable, but Sabotage was looking like more of a serious film and the one thing I didn’t think Arnie could muster was serious.

Things started to get a little more concerning after on of our reviewers went to the screening and slammed the film in her unpublished review. The review went unpublished because the film was pulled from theatrical release in New Zealand. This was not looking good for Sabotage.

Sabotage is as dark and gritty as films come, beginning with a video taped torture scene, where Breacher’s (Schwarzenegger) wife is brutally killed as revenge for capturing a drug cartel’s top man. The film kicks off in earnest some years later, but Breacher can’t escape the loss of his family, and this is slowly eating him away, affecting how he commands his squad and ultimately getting one of his team killed. But it’s this bleak vision that draws you in and keeps you hooked, the real notion that law-enforcement officers who witness the depths of humanity sometimes lack the necessary character to stay human.

Added to this bleakness that David Ayer portrayed so well in End Of Watch, we have the lead roll played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, along with a not to subtle action film makeover. Pumping soundtrack, highfives all round. The kind of thing Oliver Stone attempted, but ultimately failed, with Savages, Ayer nails. Adding a little humour, making the film a little more of a guilty pleasure, allows us a little more separation from the nasty side of life.

Essentially it’s an 80’s action film, stripped back and given the current Hollywood trend of making re-boots dark and gritty. For me, it’s a winning formula for a great night in. If you can stomach a fair bit of R-Rated brutality and splatter.

Rating: R18 Graphic Violence.




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