Directed by: David Ayer

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams, Terrence Howard, Joe Manganiello, Harold Perrineau, Martin Donovan, Max Martini, Josh Holloway, and Mireille Enos

Since his political career ended and his marital woes took center stage, Arnold Schwarzenegger has not been able to connect with American audiences.  His most recent films, The Last Stand and Escape Plan were box office duds domestically, and his latest action thriller Sabotage is likely to fare even more poorly.  Schwarzenegger may still have some juice left in the tank, but it is fading quickly.

In the film, John “Breacher” Wharton (Schwarzenegger) is a DEA officer who leads a scruffy team of agents.  His gang of brutes includes Monster (Sam Worthington), Grinder (Joe Manganiello), Sugar (Terrence Howard), Pyro (Max Martini), Lizzy (Mireille Enos), Neck (Josh Holloway) and others.  Pause for a moment to appreciate those nicknames.  Breacher and his team are in the midst of raiding a Mexican drug cartel.  The drug lord has hundreds of millions of dollars on site.  Breacher’s team steals $10 million and hides it in a sewage drain before other FBI agents arrive at the scene.  When Breacher and his crew return to recover their money from the sewage drain, however, someone has already taken the money.

The government and the Mexican drug cartel know that Breacher’s team has stolen the money.  Breacher and his DEA team are suspended for six months during an investigation.  But since the money is gone and none of them snitch, the investigation is closed and the suspensions are lifted.  However, just when they get back to work, Breacher’s team is assassinated one by one, each murdered more brutally than the last.  Local detective Caroline (Olivia Williams) is tasked with investigating the murders.  As Breacher and his crew are hunted by unknown killers, Caroline begins to unravel the mystery surrounding Breacher.

Sabotage has some interesting moments.  The flirtation between Schwarzenegger and the surprisingly age appropriate Williams is believable.  There are also some fairly humorous scenes and dialogue.  One scene in particular where Schwarzenegger insults a detective for having 48% body fat was laugh out loud funny.   In addition, there are enough twists and turns in the plot that will leave viewers guessing, and thus somewhat engaged throughout the film.  (Sidebar: In a six degrees of Kevin Bacon kind of way, I was struck by Terminator Schwarzenegger sharing the screen with Terminator Salvation star Sam Worthington.  It was a Skynet reunion!). 

Unfortunately, the film fails on a number of different levels.  As an initial matter, the heavy hitters that comprise the cast are poorly utilized.  Aside from Schwarzenegger, the DEA team is depicted as a bunch of misogynistic animals.  They are crass, rude, and borderline barbaric.  The only female on the team is depicted as a skanky drug addict.  They are so repulsive that even Manganiello, who is smoking hot on True Blood and in Magic Mike, is not attractive in this film.  The explanation for their crude behavior is that they are the best undercover DEA agents in the business, and their crass conduct allows them to infiltrate drug cartels.  However, I suspect the film’s writers were just trying to appeal to a super macho, male audience with the toughest of the tough guys who are all about guns, strippers, and swagger. 

Additionally, the film simultaneously does too much and too little.  There is a substantial amount of gore and shockingly violent scenes.  The filmmakers attempt to add depth with a “whodunit” mystery.  However, they fail to establish a full connection between the eradication of Breacher’s team and Breacher’s past.  There are hints of Breacher’s history at the beginning and in the middle of the film.  But the film does not do enough to thread the needle so that viewers are invested in Breacher’s story and connect his past with what is currently happening to his team.  In the end, it just feels like the film goes off of the rails completely.

Sabotage earns a 0.09% rating.  Although Sabotage is extremely flawed, there is some entertainment value in seeing Schwarzenegger back onscreen.