“Fill your hands, you son of a bitch!” Whoops. Wrong movie. Wrong movie star…or maybe not.
I’m probably not going to see Sabotage---this is our Muppets Most Wanted weekend---but from what Tony Dayoub says it sounds like I’ll be missing out on a pretty good action-adventure-thriller and an actual acting job by Arnold:
[Director David] Ayer knows that this has been done before, so the only way to keep the viewer in the dark is to distract or divert their attention. He does so with the edgy expertise of a veteran action filmmaker. Chase scenes are shot from a first-person perspective inside the car. Gunfights frequently occur with the camera at either or both ends of the barrel depending on who Ayer wants you to feel has the advantage. At one point, Breacher's visit to one retired teammate is cut in such a way as to fool the viewer that the parallel action between the team leader and his former subordinate are occurring simultaneously when there's a very distinct reason it turns out that it's not. Viewers are enlisted into being part of the action from the get-go, both implicating them as accomplices in the crime and making them perplexed victims of the betrayal committed by one of the once trusted teammates.
Schwarzenegger is rarely called upon to give as complex a performance as the one he gives in Sabotage. Breacher is a man who sacrificed the stability of a regular family for the thrills of this volatile one and has begun to realize it was a horrible exchange. Save for an ill-advised, valedictory coda that comes across as a bit of a western spoof, the movie grants Schwarzenegger the chance to play the role of an action star's lifetime. Breacher may be Schwarzenegger's Rooster Cogburn…
Some day I’ll write a fuller post about a movie star’s Rooster Cogburn role as the last great showy part of his or her career that somehow sums up everything that went into making them a star and then adds a little something to our appreciation of their star power and their talent. Not every actor gets one. Bogart didn’t. Cary Grant didn’t. Henry Fonda’s was in a play, Clarence Darrow. Cary Cooper’s was High Noon, obviously. Spencer Tracy’s was in Inherit the Wind although a case can be made for Bad Day at Black Rock. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was his valedictory and that’s a different thing. Paul Newman’s came a little early with The Verdict. Redford might just have had his in All Is Lost. Wayne actually had two. True Grit and The Shootist.
Hollywood is usually done with its great actresses just before they’re at the point where they’re ready to deliver such a performance. Katharine Hepburn defied the sexist ageists, which is why we have hers in The Lion in Winter. Bette Davis remained a leading lady just long enough to do All About Eve. Helen Mirren’s, The Queen, re-energized and extended her career as a leading lady. Meryl Streep will likely have hers sooner or later, but maybe she already did and if so my vote is Julie & Julia.
At any rate, if Breacher in Sabotage is Schwarzenegger’s, then maybe I’d better re-think and make the time to see it.
However you feel, you should read all of Tony’s review at Cinema Viewfinder.