You might’ve seen the previews for Sabotage, and written it off as another mindless action vehicle headlined by Arnold Schwarzenegger (in his endless attempt to revive the action genre). Truth be told, that assumption isn’t entirely unfair, however, there’s much more going on here than you might initially suspect. The basic plot involves DEA task force leader John “Breacher” Wharton (Schwarzenegger) and his team are using an undercover mission as a way to secretly steal $10 million. The robbery is a success, but not only did the money go missing, but it’s not long until Wharton and his team find themselves being killed one after another. It’s interesting enough to try to figure out who is doing the killing, but that’s only the surface plot. We see a quick flashback sequence that opens the film. It plays out as a sort of snuff film as we see a woman being tortured and killed. At first, we’re not quite sure of the story behind this sequence, but we learn more as the film progresses. The supporting cast is a fairly big one, though a lot of them feel like stock characters. Sam Worthington, Terrance Howard and Joe Manganiello are a few of the familiar faces that show up here. Olivia Williams also shows up as the investigator trying to figure out what’s going on. She does nice work here, but the Wharton’s story involving the missing money and his team being killed off is more interesting than hers.
Ultimately, Sabotage adds up to a wholly satisfying film. I have enjoyed the recent return to more hard, R-rated action fare of the last few years or so, and this is no exception. There’s plenty of action, but the central plot keeps you intrigued. One of the more interesting aspects is you’re never quite sure about the Breacher character. On the surface, he seems like a man who is in an unfortunate position by trying to protect his team, but also trying to figure out who is killing his team. It appears as if he is possibly hiding something or maybe has a few secrets of his own. It’s this element and the intricate plot details that help Sabotage stand above the rest. This could’ve easily turned into a silly, mindless (albeit satisfying) action film, but it’s “more than meets the eye” storytelling kicks things up a notch. Once you’ve seen the film and know how things play out, it might not hold as as well on repeat viewings, but it’s definitely worth checking out for action fans and Schwarzenegger fans as well. It satisfies. I admit that the ending doesn’t sit entirely well with me (there are even two alternate endings on this disc), but enough of the film works well to recommend. Check it out.
Video: How’s it look?
Universal’s AVC encoded (1.85:1) transfer delivers the film nicely. This isn’t surprising since the studio generally does a good job (especially with more recent titles) and the film is only a few months old now. The print is pristine and flesh tones and facial details are solid and consistent throughout. Stubble, stray hairs, you name it, everything shows up here with distinct detail and clarity. Schwarzenegger sports a unique haircut in this film and the various layers are heightened here. The characters featured in this film are rough and not the most appealing, but they’re presented here with strong clarity. This transfer (like the film) satisfies.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS HD track also delivers. The action scenes hit hard and make an impression with strong bass kicking in as well. Vocals remained clear and audible throughout. The rear channels get a workout, especially during the action scenes. In short: this track will please. It shows nice range and delivers the goods. Fans will be pleased here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Deleted Scenes – A hefty collection of scenes, a lot are extended bits.
Making Sabotage – A standard behind the scenes look at the film.
Alternate endings – We get two here, both are exclusive to Blu-ray. These are certainly interesting and each one changes the fate of a major character. I’m not sure which I prefer, but having them here is nice.