Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sabotage ★1/2

    If someone were to tell me five years ago that Arnold Schwarzenegger would still be producing films at this stage in his career, I might have just brushed off the utterance, and went about my daily affairs. After all, why would a man who has accomplished so much, aside from the silver screen, accept trivial roles of seemingly misguided intentions? I guess this is a question only he can answer.

    David Ayer's "Sabotage" is a misfortune, to say the least, both for the leading actor, and the director, himself. Ayer has been at the helm of numerous scripts, most of which center on the underlining fabric of police corruption. Although the heart of this picture lies with one of the most gifted actors, (not necessarily for his delicate approach to subject matter, but for his heroic, and at times larger than life aura) it falls flat in many ways than one, and becomes the embodiment of most things that we would deem repugnant with regard to film-making.

    The story line here is one of an arbitrary fashion, and only satisfies the most basic instincts of human capacity, that being, sight and hearing. Schwarzenegger becomes John "Breacher" Wharton, the head of a renegade police force, who bring down the country's most notorious drug lords and still find time to indulge in recreational abuses, among other things. (If you like spending your time watching men quench their thirst with cheap beer and displaying vast depths of vulgar language, then these personas may become of some interest.)

    An opening scene features a drug bust that turns into a display of situational irony, as our team attempts to steal a portion of the narcotic profiteering they ultimately seize, (hence the above usage of the term "renegade") although the money is found missing moments later. Consequently, the focus shifts to the question of: who stole the loot, and once the members of Wharton's team become the victims of graphic slayings, the concern veers in the direction of the identity of these murderers. The logical answer would be the constituents of the cartel, in which the money was stolen although that would obviously be too undemanding.

    From here, the plot divulges into the intricacies of these homicide investigations, in an endeavor to distract the audience from who may actually have the ample motivation to commit such heinous acts. By this juncture, even the most rudimentary individual would have lost interest, although I may be underestimating the audience's need to view senseless violence and monotonous dialogue.

    The direction is uneven, to put it nicely, as Ayer's execution of numerous close-ups and zoom outs come to symbolize the film as a whole, and that would be poorly done. There is a scene in which Wharton is conferring with the lead investigator, and the camera, pans back and forth between each individual, as they read their next uninspired line. Although it does give off the sense of being a third occupant in the room, (much like how your head would turn its attention to whoever is speaking) it is not suitable here. If anything, it just reminds us that there was a lack of editing involved. As far as any extraction of knowledge from the picture is concerned, if David Ayer is attempting to suggest a moral implication (such as "money is the root of all evil"), or to display the truth of human nature, it is structurally not conducive.

    Of all the dialogue that is belched out among the choir, the lines that Schwarzenegger is forced to recite, are undoubtedly the most unflattering. (These are mostly composed of obscenities and references to male genitalia.) Much like a director, who chooses to work in a studio because of the products of the 1930s, and 1940s, in which he or she grew up with (in an attempt to replicate the same ambiance), I believe Schwarzenegger reduces himself to roles of this stature, in an albeit futile venture, to capture the essence of what he has created in the past. Unfortunately, this journey is proving to be fruitless, and it is becoming almost unbearable to watch.

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