Listen All Y'all It's a "Sabotage" Review

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Listen All Y'all It's a "Sabotage" Review

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Film Reviews | March 28, 2014 | Comments ()


Oh warning, spoilers follow, in case you have a burning need to not know vague plot points of a movie you will never bother seeing.

It really should be illegal to have an unadvertised movie be called Sabotage and not feature a single Beastie Boys song. I mean, I don’t really like the Beastie Boys but they’re a bit catchy, and will at least entertain you for three minutes at a stretch.

Instead we get an Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie. Those probably should be illegal too. It’s not because his age is really starting to show - and there’s a gratuitous scene of him at the gym lifting weights for a minute or so that demonstrates he could annihilate most men thirty years his junior with ease - so much as the fact that the guy just can’t act. This shouldn’t be a surprise, the sample size for that study is decidedly large-n at this point. After all those years and films you think he could have learned something, if only by osmosis. Ah well, at least it keeps him from bugging the maid.

But seriously, look at the talent they stacked up around him in terms of name brand actors who can get plenty of paychecks without resorting to films like this in general: Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams, Mireille Enos, Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway. I mean they’re not necessarily Oscar winners across the board, but it’s one of those weird movies where without trying, you recognize every single actor whose character is actually given a name.

On the other hand this old guy and his wife, who were the only other ones in the theater, they seemed to really enjoy it. In fact on walking out, I held the door for the two of them and he pronounced, “that was badass, huh?” I told him it was indeed. That’s called respecting your elders, take some notes.

Anyway, the film isn’t actually that terrible. It actually makes a decent stab at taking itself seriously and setting up a mystery within mystery sort of thing. This elite (aren’t they always, except in comedies) team of DEA super studs (and one studette of course) conspires to steal 10 million bucks. Problem is, when they go to pick up the stash, someone else has stolen it. And then they start getting killed in creative ways. It does a decent enough job keeping its cards close and playing them out one by one as twists, but that’s sort of what you expect from a director like David Ayer. The guy who brought us End of Watch should be elevating this sort of source material, the bigger question is why he’s bothering at all with this sort of poor man’s action thriller.

Look, it’s a film that gives us Joe Manganiello (who you might recognize from his role on True Blood as “werewolf who doesn’t own shirts”) in cornrows. Why? I don’t know, but this picture is for you:


It’s also a film that gives us Sam Worthington channeling something so hard with his weird little braided goatee, that I swear I thought that this was Fred Durst making his acting debut right up until I doublechecked the cast list while looking this up:


You just can’t look away from those two pictures, can you?

So what we end up with is a hard-R action movie that actually bothers to take itself seriously. It’s entertaining enough as far as things go, in fact it’s pretty much an eighties action movie. And I don’t mean the tongue-in-cheek joke like The Expendables, but a blood spattered shoot-em-up with occasional toplessness for the cheap seats. They don’t make movies like this anymore, not with the Internet and a hundred better and cheaper options on the big screen at home. Cable killed the hard-R action movie, so this thing is really something of a throwback.

Should you pay money to see this? Oh god no. But if someone gave you a free ticket you might as well go. That’s probably the only way you’d ever see it, because it will disappear from any memory by the time it hits DVD or Netflix, and the hard-R means it’ll never see the light of day on TNT or some such to be caught on Saturday afternoon channel flipping.

Steven Lloyd Wilson is a hopeless romantic and the last scion of Norse warriors and the forbidden elder gods. His novel, ramblings, and assorted fictions coalesce at You can email him here and order his novel here.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Uriah_Creep

    Ah well, at least it keeps him from buggERing the maid.

    That's probably more correct.

  • RilesSD

    Gotta say, The Last Stand was enjoyable (for a late night Netflix-stream, anyway). So if this is on the level with that movie, I'm in.

  • Idle Primate

    The prison escape one with Stallone was fun too. Throwback? Sure, what of it? I dont always mind the eighties calling, they were my highschool homies. I'm in for Sabotage.

  • e jerry powell

    But as we all know, this would be the biggest sellout of the Beastie Boys' career, so NO FUCKING WAY WOULD THAT EVER HAPPEN.

    " much as the fact that the guy just can’t act."
    And never could, but has that ever stopped him?

  • He seems pretty confused about being in this movie.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Jesus Christ, that's Ahnold? I thought it was Michael Rooker.

  • axis2clusterB

    Same here, until I read your comment. And even then, my initial reaction was - of course that's Michael Rooker. Then I went back and turned my head to the side and squinted and almost had a heart attack.

  • PDamian

    I'm going. I was going before I even read the review. I live in central MN, and we've just had another f**kton of snow dropped on us, and the wind is piercing, and it's almost April and yet there's no end in sight to this winter s**tshow, and my students are using the icy roads as an excuse to skip class when I know for a fact that most of them live in the city and if I can get to campus, so can they, and I just taught a class with an enrollment of 27 and only six showed up (and I will flunk a bitch, yes I will), and I need some mindless f**king entertainment with gratuitous f**king violence and f**king unnecessary bouncing boobies and f**king Joe Mangianello in f**ing cornrows, dammit so much. Bring it.

  • I live in the Twin Cities and I'm planning on seeing it this weekend for all of those same winter will not die reasons.

  • Uriah_Creep

    That was a pretty epic mini-rant. Well done!

  • PDamian

    Thanks! I take requests!

  • Frank P. Gengo IV

    Come teach at my school. NOW.

  • Bananapanda

    You need a little more Statham in your life.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Are you sure cable killed the hard-R movie? 'Cause I've got a ticket for The Raid 2 tomorrow. (or does it not count if it's foreign language?)

    I do, actually anticipate watching this movie...but 6-9 months from now when it's on HBO and my friends and I feel like making fun of it. I didn't know the DEA agents *were* actually stealing the money though - the previews I saw made it look like a set up. What a twist!

  • lowercase_ryan

    I'd pay to see the Raid 2 even if it were dubbed in Klingon.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    9:55 am ticket for tomorrow morning. Because my guy friends are both dedicated AND cheap. Did I mention we're seeing it at Lincoln Center Cinemas? Because CLASSY.

  • I don’t really like the Beastie Boys

  • Aside: good review. This is a movie meant to live forever on Cinemax's Action channel, alongside repeats of Cobra and Die Hard 2 and the new season of whatever action show they're developing then.

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