Saturday, 5 April 2014

FLICK OF THE WEEK: Sabotage plays fast and loose with family honour and the war on drugs

MARCHING ORDERS: Schwarzenegger (centre) is a man on a mission in the new action flick.

A father's obsessive hunt for Mexican druglords who slaughtered his wife and young son lurks at the core of Sabotage, a bruising, heatedly action-packed but ultimately meat-thin look at betrayal, loyalty, and family from the acclaimed writer of Training Day, David Ayer.

Proving that there's still life in those ageless bones, Arnold Schwarzenegger is John 'Breacher' Warden, a law-enforcement vet who now heads up a special operations team (DEA agents, adrenaline junkies) that covertly penetrates drug cartels earning some serious enemies along the way, as one can imagine. As John observes, "If you spend enough time in the job, the job bites back." He should know. 

When their 10-million-dollar heist of cartel money winds up missing before it could even be retrieved hours later, things begin to fall apart for the posse whose members start to drop like flies. Still, Warden will not be deterred from his mission at hand.

The overlapping plot points make the whole thing feel a tad convoluted at times, but the film is by no means a failure, packing revelatory insight into human nature and proof positive that 'Ahnald' can still crank it up. The big-screen titan is in decent company here, alongside a testosterone-heavy supporting cast that includes Terrence Howard, True Blood's Joe Manganiello, Mireille Enos, and Avatar's Sam Worthington, all giving their staunchest badass routines. Olivia Williams brings steely resolve to the party as the pitbull-in-a-skirt female lead investigator charged with tying up the loose ends, opposite her more easy-going partner played by Harold Perrineau.

In short, Sabotage is a messy, adrenaline-spiked affair, but for all its loud energy and bombast, there's an admirable human dimension to the madness that's centred on redemption and family honour. Tyrone's Verdict: B-

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