Movie Fanatic has been a huge fan of David Ayer since his screenplay gave us those riveting Training Day quotes that earned Denzel Washington an Oscar. He added director to his screenwriter title with the powerful End of Watch and now he’s back in both capacities with Arnold Schwarzenegger, no less, in Sabotage.
Ayer co-wrote the Sabotage screenplay with Skip Woods (A Good Day to Die Hard) and it is easy to tell that this is not completely an Ayer movie from a creative standpoint.
Sabotage stars Schwarzenegger as the leader of an elite DEA squad who has had such success bringing down members of drug cartels that their bravado is equal to their keen knowledge that any day may be their last. After one of the biggest busts in history, the gang celebrates while trouble looms.
They awake to a world where, as our Sabotage exclusive trailer teases, $10 million is missing from the bust and members of Schwarzenegger’s team are being killed one by one… cartel-style.
The role of John “Breacher” Wharton is a good one for Schwarzenegger at this point in his career. He gets into his fair share of action, but he does so as the wise one with decades of experience under his belt. He is joined in the cast (who is outstanding) by Joe Manganiello, Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard, Josh Holloway, Max Martini and Mireille Enos. Each are solid performers but put aside their need for the spotlight to efficiently and effectively be part of an ensemble, both on screen and off.
Once bodies begin piling up, a local cop (Olivia Williams) starts investigating the murders, and at first, Wharton and his team don't like her being around. Schwarzenegger and Williams make a good pair, and in many ways, it reminds us of the action chemistry he had with Tom Arnold in True Lies.
How Sabotage is not exactly an Ayer movie is that the violence is more pronounced and bloody. Both Training Day and End of Watch had violence and portrayed the cost that many who enforce our laws endure (watch End of Watch online and see what we mean).
But, rarely is it as present as it is in Sabotage. We’re not saying that is a bad thing, by any means. It’s just that between some of the quip-heavy dialogue and the graphic brutality, those who appreciate Ayer's work can tell that there was another chef in this kitchen.
Our Sabotage review finds that the film is overall a pretty solid action movie. We know there is a mole in Wharton’s group and Ayer manages to keep us guessing until the very end. And then… the entire thing gets flipped on its head. The conclusion of the film is a bold move and one we truly can appreciate. Schwarzenegger fans will enjoy it, and we suspect action movie aficionados will too.