It seems strange to say about an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, but "Sabotage" is flabby. With a meandering, logic-impaired story, odd throwaway scenes and lazy flashback voice-overs to explain character motivation, this guns-and-grunts ensemble movie makes me say something I never thought I'd say: "Sabotage" is no "The Expendables."
In fact, it doesn't seem sure of what it wants to be. Director and co-writer David Ayer does crime dramas with a questioning intelligence and psychological depth ("End of Watch," "Training Day"). Co-writer Skip Woods does "A Good Day to Die Hard" and "The A-Team."
Still, it opens great. John Wharton (Schwarzenegger), code name Breacher, leads a Drug Enforcement Administration team that storms the mansion of a cartel kingpin. With both precision and swagger, guys called Monster (Sam Worthington), Grinder (Joe Manganiello), Sugar (Terrence Howard) and, um, Lizzy (Mireille Enos) blow through defenses to reach a roomful of money. There they steal $10 million, feeding it in bags through the room's conveniently located toilet. But when they go to retrieve it later, someone else has gotten there first.
And the movie itself then goes down the toilet. Despite the team's blowing up the rest of the stash, the DEA somehow knows $10 million is missing -- the first of the film's many "huhs?" Breacher's alpha dogs start getting picked off in ways that would do the "Final Destination" movies proud. No one's simply executed in their sleep: The RV one lives in gets pushed onto railroad tracks. Another team member's nailed to the ceiling and gutted.
Atlanta homicide detective Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) tries questioning Breacher and his team, but between false leads, red herrings and Breacher's apparent ability to mind-read over distances, gets nowhere -- until one night when she's in her pool and Breacher shows up with wine and two glasses.
And while we don't expect Noël Coward, the writers shouldn't saddle poor Sam Worthington with lines like, "We're not a team anymore -- just a gang" and "We missed you. You're the heart and soul of us." This movie's heart and soul got gutted along with the guy on the ceiling.
PLOT After robbing a drug cartel, DEA team-members start being assassinated.
RATING R (strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity and drug use)
CAST Arnold Schwarzenegger, Joe Manganiello, Olivia Williams
BOTTOM LINE Confusing action-drama whodunit will have you wondering why they done it.