Dailies - Tim Salmons honors the passing of a director we greatly admire http://t.co/XUBgz1aNbv
Release Date(s)2014 (July 22, 2014)
Studio(s)Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Sabotage is the latest “action” film from Arnold Schwarzenegger after jumping back into the movie game, as well as the latest film from director David Ayer, who previously directed End of Watch and wrote Training Day. The film tells the story of a group of undercover agents who steal $10 million dollars during a raid on a drug cartel, hiding it out of sight for safe keeping. When they return to retrieve it, they find that it’s been taken by someone, and one by one, each of them are bumped off by an unknown killer as they all begin pointing fingers at each other.
On the whole, Sabotage wasn’t one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, but it’s certainly one of the most underwhelming. Schwarzenegger is his usual self, being not much more than a statue through nearly all of his scenes and puffing on a cigar while the rest of the cast just kind of follows along without contributing very much. The movie itself was marketed as an action movie, but really it doesn’t have a whole lot of action in it. It’s more akin to something like The Shield or The Wire, being more of a dramatic thriller than anything else. The movie has a few explosions, some gunfire, and some practical gore effects mixed with CGI blood splatters, but it just wasn’t enough.
The worst part of it is that Sabotage might have made for a more compelling TV miniseries (with a better cast, of course). The main problem with this kind of material is that almost nobody gets it right in cinematic form anymore. It’s always more successfully executed in serial form, which gives you more time to set things up and get to know the characters a little better. Most of the characters in this movie are grossly unlikable, so you don’t really have anything to latch on to. Obviously, Schwarzenegger ‘s character is the person you’re supposed to gravitate towards (as you find out during the course of the film), but his awkward and lifeless performance leaves you lost in a sea of idiots. The film has a few good ideas, but they’re just executed in a boring way. Like I said, in a different format, the material would have fared better.
Whatever my feelings may be about the film itself, the Blu-ray transfer of Sabotage features a nearly perfect visual presentation. Being shot digitally, the image is crystal clear and full of fine detail. Colors and skin tones are well-saturated and great looking, blacks are extremely deep, and both contrast and brightness are at acceptable levels. I didn’t notice any signs of banding, aliasing, or any digital tinkery to boost the images. There’s not much more to say than that really. It’s virtually perfect. The audio portion doesn’t quite reach the same level, but comes close. It’s featured in a single channel of English 5.1 DTS-HD. The surround activities left a bit more to be desired, but the sound effects, score and other music in the film had some nice envelopment to it. Dialogue is mostly clear and clean, although I felt some of it was mixed a bit too low. Overall, it’s a pretty solid presentation that’s almost perfect. And being that this is a region free release, there are subtitles in English SDH, Spanish and French for those who might need them.
Extras, however, are pretty sparse, which include a set of alternate endings, some deleted scenes, a Making Sabotage featurette, a DVD copy of the film, and a paper insert with an Ultraviolet code. There’s also some bothersome (but skippable) previews that open the disc, which are also accessible on the main menu, as well. I didn’t expect any amazing amount of extras to be included, but this is a pretty light load.
Now I’m sure that there are plenty of people who will enjoy Sabotage more than I did. Some might even say that it’s the best movie that Arnold has done in many years. There’s a little truth to that, but I didn’t feel that way while watching it, and I didn’t care all that much afterwards. It’s a fairly mediocre movie with a story that is better suited for television, but if you’re interested in picking up a Blu-ray of the film anyways, then the disc’s presentation should be quite satisfactory for you.
- Tim Salmons