David Ayer built his entire career on gritty, street level crime thrillers like Training Day, Dark Blue, Harsh Times, Street Kings and End of Watch, while Arnold Schwarzenegger reigned supreme throughout the 1980s and early 90s as cinema’s biggest action star, so everybody was fully aware of what to expect from the duo’s collaboration on Sabotage, even if the original source material was hardly within either man’s wheelhouse.
A very loose adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel And Then There Were None, Schwarzenegger stars as John ‘Breacher’ Wharton, the veteran leader of an elite DEA task force. After his team steal $10 million from a drug cartel and keep it to themselves, the members begin dying off one by one in mysterious circumstances, forcing them to begin turning on each other.
It’s a standard setup for the genre and Ayer sticks to what he knows best by delivering a string of violent set pieces and macho dialogue spoken by a cast that’s positively oozing testosterone, which also includes Joe Manganiello, Josh Holloway, Terrence Howard, Harold Perrineau, Max Martini and Sam Worthington. But unfortunately, Sabotage is almost punishingly dull.
Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a solid performance as Breacher, using his grizzled charisma and status as the elder statesman of badassery to great effect, but the movie doesn’t offer anything audiences haven’t seen dozens of times before. It flopped at the box office after earning just over $22 million in theaters against a $35 million budget, while poor reviews saw it settle on a Rotten Tomatoes score of 22%. That being said, gritty actioners always tend to play well on Netflix, so Sabotage could post a good showing when it gets added to the content library next month on May 19th.