Saturday, August 30, 2014
Directed By: David Ayer
Written By: David Ayer & Skip Woods
Cinematography By: Dody Dorn
Editor: Mary Vernieu & Lindsay Graham
Cast: Arnold Schwartzenegger, Olivia Williams, Sam Worhtington, Mireille Enos, Joe Manganiello, Terrence Howard, Josh Holloway, Max Martini, Martin Donovan, Troy Garity, Harold Perrineau
Members of an elite DEA task force find themselves being taken down one by one after they rob a drug cartel safe house.
The film I strangely marketed as a balls to the wall action film. Though the film has action in it. The film plays more like a thriller or even a mystery. That is so hopped up on testosterone it hopes you won't notice.
The plot was loosely based on Agatha Christie's classic novel "And Then There Were None".
I like the way the film was filmed.
There is an interesting film in this film somewhere as the characters feel right and the situations do to. IT's the story that just doesn't. --The Beastie Boys, Mike D and Adam Horovitz, turned down a request to use their 1994 song "Sabotage" in promos for the film. In his will, Adam Yauch prohibited the use of his music in advertisements.
I realize at this point Arnold Schwartzenegger is at a crossroads in his career like Sylvester Stallone. Where they are aging action stars and have to decide where their care is going to go now that they seen' box office champions where the audience will follow them into anything as long as it is action oriented. Both have burned their bridges playing in superhero films and both don't lend themselves to playing in fantasy. So while Stallone has made sequels to his iconic characters and created a franchise recruiting other actions stars. Schwartzenegger has recently returned to the big screen. His film THE LAST STAND was a throwback to the 80's And 90's type of action films he used to make and that bombed. He appears in Stallone's EXPENDABLES. He also starred in another 80's type action film with Stallone and thy bombed. So I can't blame him for trying something a bit different with this role.
The problem is that the film tries to go for a realistic feel of action. Yet let's Arnold play the same type of action hero smoking his cigars with an I'm not scare attitude and killing everyone in the room. Despite his advanced age. The film even shows him working out at a gym to have the audience realize how much he is being followed. To make it not seem like a throwaway scene.
We also never get to see him really strong arm anyone. If he chases a suspect now they run and Arnold just catches up to them like Jason Voorhies he is right behind all of a sudden or just appears breathing hard yet caught up, bringing back memories I chuck Norris on walker Texas ranger kicking at the camera and a bad guy just all of a sudden flying back with no contact. --The films action sequences leave a lot to he desired and aren't thrilling or exciting though they are agressively violent.
The film makes a smart decision in surrounding the character with younger characters on his team to handle most of the action. As the film winds up and down we keep seeing them get taken out one by one in increasingly gruesome ways. You know the less famous and recognizable names will be taken out first. It truly is a film that measures an actors fame as the more recognizable you are the longer your character lasts in the film.
The film introduces Olivia Williams who sports a ridiculous thick southern accent as a investigator into the murders then as a reluctant ally of sorts. Her characters accent seems to only be here to remind us the film takes place in Georgia though it doesn't look like it. She seems here at first to brings some spice into the film and before long she seems more like a tougher girlfriend type role. Or a law & order detective from the television show brought into the big leagues of action movies.
The film just never seems like it knows when to start for each time it gets exciting it is short lived. It also becomes confusing at times as to which plot line we are supposed to be following. Then once it does remind itself of the getting murdered plot line. It's resolution is ridiculous. Then once you believe it has ended, no there is still unfinished business to finish up and only seems here to remind is of how bad ass schwartzenegger can be.
An explination might be that according to director David Ayer, Sabotage was heavily cut by the studio in favor of delivering more of an action based film rather than a mystery thriller. The original cut of Sabotage was rumored to be close to 3 hours.
The problem with the film is that it seeks to immerse is in the world of the D.E.A. from a realistic point of view which is usually Writer - Director David Ayer's strong suit. Here though into this world he stretches a Hollywood type plot and situations into it.
A subplot involving Brentwood trying to nail an abusive father who has killed his young daughter was cut from the final film, but it is briefly mentioned in the scene when Brentwood and Breacher talk on the way to Tripod's house. This storyline was cut to speed up the pace of the film and concentrate on the action.
Part of this the characters of his team who are all messed up in some way. The film goes overboard to show how macho they are. Though it more or less comes off as posing. At least in predator the team of mercenaries seemed more realistic and likeable. Here the team seem like a bunch of assholes. Who you don't particularly care about when they begin to get wasted. Especially in the characterization of the female character played by Mireille Enos. Who seems to have to go overboard with her characters toughness and sexuality to prove herself an equal that is an original concept, but a has to also be an out of control drug addict and it seems maybe sex addicted too? Yet she remains on the team and is not seen as a liability. Now this Character could have been added to the pantheon of kick ass female action characters. Instead it feels like an extreme character wasted to a degree.
Kate Mara and Isla Fisher auditioned for the role that went to Malin Akerman. Later Akerman dropped out due to pregnancy and was replaced by Mireille Enos.
Also once all the cards are on the table at the end. It would have been nice To have an explination as to how certain things were done by the characters.
It also has strange beats to it. Where it seems headed all over the place.
The film had originally a completely different ending. In that ending Caroline and Breacher apprehend Lizzy, who confesses. Breacher shoots Lizzy before she can reveal more and Caroline becomes aware that Breacher is behind the killings. Breacher slips away undetected. Caroline and his partner Jackson then head to the lake to retrieve the money. Breacher shows up, stabs Jackson and begins fighting Caroline in the water.David Ayer filmed two alternate versions of this ending. In the first one Caroline escapes and Breacher is confronted by two police cars when he tries to leave with the money. Breacher kill the cops and prepares to flee in one of the cars. Then Caroline appears and asks him why he killed his team. He tells her that they wouldn't let him and kill his family's killer, who he knew he could get. She then shoots him when he tries to go for his gun. In the second version, when Caroline asks, Breacher tells Caroline that a member of his team betrayed him and one of them was responsible for selling his family to the cartel for money. He didn't know which one, so he took them all out. He shoots Caroline when she tries to apprehend him, and then leaves with the money. Both versions were rejected by the producers, who forced Ayer to create a new ending which showed Arnold Schwarzenegger's character as an antihero instead as a villain.