Sabotage May Be Worst Film I Ever Saw

Sabotage filmOn Tuesday, I went to see Sabotage with my brother. Now I’m used to seeing pretty bad films with my brother. The truth is, my brother has no taste. I’m not being cute here. I mean literally that he has no taste. He’ll watch anything. So Arnold Schwarzenegger was in this film and away we went! But it was even worse than I had expected. It is very possibly the worst film that I’ve ever seen.

The basic setup is not too bad. Schwarzenegger heads a crack undercover DEA team that supposedly infiltrates drug rings and then takes them down. There is very little infiltration and lots of taking down, but whatever. This team, however, decides to steal part of the money they recover. But before they can retrieve the money, it is stolen by someone else. The rest of the film, in as much as it has a discernible plot, involves the various recriminations.

That’s all fine, I suppose; it could have been a typically bad action film but nothing too traumatic. But the story bounces all around. First there is the investigation by the DEA who think that the gang stole the money because they just happen to know exactly how much drug money there was because of “a concurrent investigation.” And then, after this six month period of time, the gang gets back together because the DEA doesn’t manage to break them. That’s when they start being murdered one at a time. And that’s when the foul mouthed female homicide detective shows up. The script plays around with making her important but can never really decide and finally just abandons her. And it only gets worse. Plus it is sandwiched inside of a most pathetic plot about Schwarzenegger’s family being tortured to death by some drug dealers.

None of this is made any better by the fact that the crack undercover DEA team looks like each member went to Dog the Bounty Hunter for fashion advice. I don’t know what’s gotten into Hollywood recently, but these guys do not look tough; they look like shower rape victims in a bad prison movie. The only one of them who really looked tough was Mireille Enos as the junkie DEA agent Lizzy. This does, I suppose, make the Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry style ending of the film ever so slightly less ridiculous. But it all does depend upon you believing that international drug lords are a bunch of puffs.

I find it constantly amazing that films about evil drug dealers portray the supposed good guys as doing nothing but drinking to excess. This movie does not only show this but very clearly shows that all the members of the gang commonly drive while plastered far past the legal limit. But as usual in these kinds of films, characters are not “good” because of their actions but rather definitionally. They are good because we say they are good. This causes the unfortunate situation where the “bad” guys are the only ones in these films who have actual motivations. But in Sabotage there is no problem because they aren’t given any motivation either.

I’m a keen observer of films. But in this one, I really couldn’t say what had happened. No film plot is without some holes, but this one was nothing but. For example, Schwarzenegger’s character allows all of his friends and many other innocent people to die in the name of getting revenge for the murder of his wife and son. But he was in a position to trade his wife and son for himself and he did not. Of the people killing the team members, one has an incredibly stupid reason and the other has no reason at all. A better name for the film would have been “Vengeance,” because according to the characters, nothing else matters besides getting revenge for wrongs done you, regardless of whether the revenge actually harms the right people.

Some people have remarked that Schwarzenegger’s acting was especially good. I thought just the opposite. Since the character is supposed to be more of a regular guy (although still a “legend” because he apparently can’t play anything else), Schwarzenegger did have to act. And it was pathetic. There was nothing subtle in the performance. He felt sad so he put his face in his hands. Mostly though, he smoked a lot of cigars. We know how much he likes cigars, so I assume his only stipulation on the film was that it dictate he smoke a lot of cigars. If that’s what qualifies as good acting, we are all doomed.

On the plus side, the film is such a mess that there are no real thematic problems with it. But that’s just because the film doesn’t focus on anything long enough to have an opinion about it. I’m sure that underneath it all is respect for the red, white, and blue and for powerful men abusing their power. There was one especially troublesome scene. The DEA team was at a strip club. The guys got out of hand and the bouncer tried to stop them. He got badly beaten as a result. Again: I guess we were just supposed to root for the “good” guys. What I thought was that the bouncer was just doing his job and the DEA guys were assholes. And that about sums up what I think of the filmmakers: witless, artless assholes.

7 thoughts on “Sabotage May Be Worst Film I Ever Saw

  1. What makes me mad is that this piece of crap was made by the guy behind two of the best police movies ever, end of watch, and training day. there is no excuse to have put out films like that, and made a film as crap as this one.

  2. @Dustin – I’m not really familiar with him although I’ve head of the films. It isn’t really my favorite kind of film. But I thought most parts of the film were fine. It was primarily that the script was a mess. I’m afraid that as soon as Schwarzenegger gets involved, things move quickly. And in this case, too quickly.

  3. I saw a pre-release promotional screening of this movie and thought that if America makes this movie a success then something must be wrong with me. Fortunately both critics and the box office recognized this steaming pile of crap. Dont get me wrong, I like Arnold very much. But didn’t anybody realize how bad this was before they released it? So many times in life we must stand by while groups make bad decisions despite our input but usually movies are not subject to thgt because they are judged so publicly. But here some idiots thought they could shove this garbage down the throat of the public and now they learned. The parts about Arnold’s wife being tortured are sick and disgusting, and I say that as someone who likes rough porn etc. It is the most repugnant shit I have ever seen. Shame on all involved for even thinking America wants this kind if "entertainment".

  4. @concerned citizen – I’m willing to forgive a lot. But a screenplay can be thoroughly polished before much money is spent. I get that sometimes a lead actor is badly cast. What are you going to do? You release the film. But this one was rotten at its base. What’s especially sad is that I think everyone was working really hard. A lot of professionals did a lot of good work to make this turkey fly. Another thing is Schwarzenegger: he used to do a better job of picking roles. I’m not a big fan but at least his films worked. I don’t know what the producers were thinking.

  5. Arnold is not an actor. Jack Nicholson, despite his playing the same guy almost every movie, can actually act.
    Arnold is just there to look and talk and seem like a certain type of person-a strong man who is In Charge. Or something, I don’t know, basically muscles with power.

    • He’s like Toonces the Driving Cat: he’s an actor, just not a very good one. Nicholson is capable of great subtlety. But I can’t get into the nature of acting. It isn’t really what most people think. But Arnold is definitely better at some times than others.

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