Arnold Schwarzenegger is probably best known for his immense contribution to the Terminator franchise and his appearance on the political scene as the Governor of California. Well, the former politician and a retired bodybuilder stars in the #3 most popular movie on Netflix, titled Sabotage, which is, according to critics, one of his finer post-political acting performances.
The movie dropped on Netflix last week, on May 19, 2021, and rose up the ranks to #3 on Netflix’s Most Popular list, for a reason which mainly remains obscure to those in love with high-value action cinematography. David Ayer‘s Sabotage features one of those stories that is so bad that even an iconic appearance from Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t seem to justify its existence. Before we go into further detail, let’s dive into the film’s story.
Think of Sabotage (2014) as a whodunit story inspired by something out of Agatha Christie’s library, but with guns, gore, and the Austrian Oak (Arnold’s nickname). The entire story revolves around nine DEA agents with very questionable nicknames, a bag of stolen cash, and a killer on their tail who’s after the aforementioned bag of money.
John “Breacher” Wharton, portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a leader of a DEA ragtag group of colorfully nicknamed agents, consisting of Monster, Grinder, Sugar, Neck, Tripod, Smoke, Lizzy, and Pyro. At this point, the movie sounds like a crossover between The Predator and some macho/cop thriller from the seventies. Anyway, the film opens during a raid on a cartel warehouse, where the team steals $10 million and stashes it inside the sewers while covering their tracks in over accentuated explosions only seen in action movies.
However, after losing Smoke in action and covering their tracks, the team goes back to retrieve the money, only to find it missing. Their superior officer suspends them while the Agency investigates them for possible theft, which is another cliché indication of classical cop movie greatness. Still, several months later, the investigation hits a dead end, and the DEA reinstates the team. The rest of the movie revolves around finding the missing money and a killer that picks the rest of the unit off.
The dark and gruesome skeletons from everyone’s closets start appearing as the body count rises, and suspicion shifts from one team member to another. Neck was willingly avoiding interrogation, which puts him as the main suspect in the viewer’s eyes, only for the agents to find him nailed to the ceiling, above everything else (pun fully intended), and disemboweled, which is basically the modus operandi of the cartels. This leads Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, Breacher, to assume the cartel is hunting the team over the stolen money.
The end section of the movie reveals the least likely of murderers, as Arnold Schwarzenegger confronts and eliminates the killer. But the killer didn’t actually take the money; he acted on revenge, thinking that the team stole the money behind his back. The movie closes on the film’s main antagonist, as he sits wounded after a gunfight, drinking whiskey and awaiting his fate.
Admittedly, Sabotage is loosely based on Agatha Christie’s novel, And Then There Were None from 1939, which is, unlike the movie, still incredibly popular. In fact, it’s the best-selling crime novel of all time, selling over 100 million copies. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sabotage, unfortunately, didn’t fare so well. The movie’s total worldwide gross was just over $22 million, opposing a $35 million production budget, which market is as a box-office flop for the ages. It received mixed or average reviews, with an unfavorable critical response, which praised Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appearance as one of his finer post-political performances.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, also known as Austrian Oak, is a prominent Austrian-American actor and producer with over 79 credited appearances, including his most-famous appearance as the Cyberdyne Systems Model 101, also known as the T-800 Terminator. Before he entered became an actor, The Guvernator was, and remains, a prominent bodybuilding figure to this day, writing numerous columns for fitness magazines and publications. His physical appearance warranted primarily action-hero roles, as he appeared as Conan, Hercules, the Terminator, Mr. Freeze, and many more. His iconic line from the Terminator franchise, “I will be back,” will remain remembered and cited for the ages to come. However, we certainly hope Arnie won’t be back if anyone ever decides to make a Sabotage sequel.