“The plot is preposterous, the violence is ridiculous, the character names are caricatures, the whole tone is just really?”
“Noisy and illogical”
That’s just what a few of the paid professional film writers thought about David Ayer’s Arnold Schwarzenegger starring crime thriller Sabotage, which was released earlier this year. The film had a modest $35m budget and yet it for all intents and purposes it failed at the box office. Now failing at the box office should never be a measure of a films worth, many great films have struggled to gain the mass appeal that would categorise a box office smash. With Sabotage though, part of its failure could certainly be attributed to the largely negative critical response, both from the professional side, and the online film community.
Sabotage is the story of a DEA squad that steal $10m from a cartel during a bust, only when they go to retrieve the stolen cash it’s already been taken, but by who?
After 6 months of surveillance the group are finally allowed to return to active duty, their superiors having given up on trying to catch them out. Upon their reinstatement they have to tackle resentment, loss of trust and the fact that members of the team are being picked off, again, by who?
Almost every negative article, comment, and opinion I’ve read about Sabotage is fair. Many writers cite its messy plot or its general overblown nature and propensity to solve every issue with just more violence.
So why when I agree with every criticism of this film, and will freely admit that it’s riddled with issues, why do I adore it so?
This is the only explanation I can give…
I adore Sabotage because it exists.
Sabotage was not made to be liked by everybody, it’s not an action movie made by committee, by producers, studio execs and accountants. This isn’t a formulaic rehashing of other action films of recent years. This is a throwback to the days where you solved illogical plots by just making the fucking guns louder, oh it still doesn’t make sense, well fuck you here’s more fucking guns!
Now I’m all for cinema that makes you think, cinema that moves you, cinema that changes your goddam world view! But there are often times that I just want a film that makes me go “DAMN” with a big old grin on my face. Sabotage may have irked and bored most that watched it, and I’m ok with that, because Sabotage wasn’t trying to make you like it, it was trying to ensure I liked it. Now I’m not saying there was a picture of me in the production offices and everyday the cast and crew were told “we are not doing this film a mass audience, we are doing it for this madman” what I’m saying is if there were a picture it would have been me.
So there you have it my defence of an indefensibly bad film, essentially you’re not wrong for hating this film, this is not a film that in years time will become a cult classic where I can stand up and say I told you so. I’m the one who’s wrong here, but my punishment for being wrong about Sabotage is that I actually get to like Sabotage. That’s it, my punishment is liking a movie, and in an age where liking a movie seems no longer the cool thing to do. I’ll take that.