Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review - Sabotage (2014)

I always knew Arnold Schwarzenegger would get back into acting after his run in politics.  I personally can't figure out what would make a guy like Arnold, an actor, a man of appearances, public opinion and make-believe, want to get into the world of politics, which is really all...  appearances and...  public opinion and...  make-believe.  Uh....  Never mind.

Sabotage (2014) marks what I believe is Schwarzenegger's second or perhaps third acting gig since ending his stint playing the Governator.  I'm not sure Expendables 2 counts, because I can't tell if he was acting in that one, or just hanging out with Bruce Willis and trying not to get hit with stray shrapnel.  Sabotage is about a crack team of undercover DEA agents, led by John 'Breacher' Wharton (Arnold), who decide to dip into the ridiculous amounts of money that drug smugglers seem to rake in all the time.  During a typical (for them) drug sting, they fish about ten million off the top of a stack of money, then blow up the money to cover their tracks.  Going to recover the money later on, they find that...  it's gone.  Despite the lack of any corroborating evidence, the DEA launches an internal investigation against the team, while the team tries to figure out just where the hell their money went.  Needless to say, this kind of stress can play havoc with the bonds of trust that make a good team, and when the bodies start to pile up, the shit really hits the fan.

Sabotage wasn't a super-stellar movie, and wasn't a blockbuster.  Despite the cast of good actors led by Arnold, the movie failed to generate any real momentum, despite some excellent shooting scenes, car chase scenes, and even some suspense and intrigue.  There was a whole "whodunnit" thing going on there for a while, and I can't say the cast hit it out of the park, but there weren't really any actors in this one who were so secure in their careers that they just phoned it in (maybe Arnold).  The woman on the DEA team, and I can't remember the actress's name (if I ever knew it), did a bang-up job.  She basically played a washed-up DEA drug addict who was hanging on to her DEA job by her fingernails, and damned if I didn't believe every minute of her time on-screen.  Sure, I hated the fuck out of her character, and didn't think she should have been a DEA agent at all, but that was the point.  You were supposed to think she was a DEA agent who was just this side of a crack-whore.  And I did.  So, Mission Accomplished.  Well acted, DEA crack-whore lady.  Well done.

What I did love about this movie was that nobody was perfect.  From Arnold on down to every last member of the cast, nobody was doing the right thing.  John "Breacher" Wharton's whole damn team was dirty, loudmouthed, asshole-ish, and generally unlikable, and they were the "good guys."  Yes, that's right.  A team of dirty, corrupt DEA agents who stole ten million dollars, were the good guys.  The bad guys were everybody else, from the homicide cop who investigates the killings, to the drug-cartel-hit-men who target John's team, to the heads of the DEA who won't even cooperate with the homicide police long enough to prevent the deaths of their own agents.  And the bad guys had their flaws as well.  Even the homicide detective sleeps with a potential suspect, and I don't think I'm giving away any spoilers here.  Everyone's as imperfect as they can possibly be, and still manage to do their jobs.  Which, is probably pretty realistic, at least in my limited experience of the world.  Admittedly, I don't get out much.

This movie did have some gaping plot holes.  Possible spoilers to follow, so skip this paragraph if you want to actually watch this movie, though I'll try and keep things vague.  One, I have no idea how the hell the DEA managed to tally up how ten million went missing.  There was literally a huge pile of drug money sitting in the middle of a shitty vault in the bowels of a building, and it seems that the DEA team's only job is to blow the shit out of that pile of money.  Which, they do, with a big bomb.  How the HELL anyone could have tallied up all the scraps of currency after that kind of blast is beyond me.  The interrogators said there was a separate investigation that had an exact total on the amount of money that the drug dealers had.  However, I still fail to understand how you can count off scraps of ash and come up with a total that exactly tallies up with what went missing.  It's just not possible.  Second spoiler, and this one is especially confusing, is how the killers actually managed to kill everyone that they did.  I mean, let's think about this.  If you've seen the movie, and you know who did it, like I have, you realize that, not only did they somehow take out an entire team of hit men, but they also killed an entire team of crack DEA agents, men who were used to being undercover, who were used to being targets.  Not only don't I understand how any of that was possible, but there shouldn't have been any possible way that they knew the team of hit-men, hired by the drug cartel, was even after them.  It just doesn't make a lick of sense.  And I really hate movies like that.  Sigh.  End of spoilers.

So, if you like the occasional action movie, as I do when I am not watching horror flicks, and you enjoy your explosions, shootings, car chases and a tiny smidge of nudity, then you might like this movie.  If glaring plot holes keep you up at night and make you scream quietly into your pillow (as they do to me), then don't watch this one.  It's available on netflix if you decide to give it a viewing.  After that, just let it go, breathe, relax, do some yoga or eat some yogurt, and try to forget about what made this movie absolutely impossible.  Ridiculously impossible.  Just....  ugh.

In other news, I just found the Undo button for my blog, so when I accidentally hit Ctrl-A and delete everything, I can fix it.  It was staring me right in the face the whole time, and I just wasn't seeing it.  Figures.  The best place to hide something is usually in plain sight.  And yes, I did it this time, and i was freaking out and DAMMIT if I didn't look around for an UNDO button, and actually find it this time.  Why couldn't I find it those other times?  Did they just add it?  Who knows.  It's there now, is all I can tell you.

In other other news, I survived the snowpocalypse.  Yes, I live in Western New York State, and we had lake effect snow off of Lake Erie for pretty much an entire work week, from monday night to friday morning.  Three to five inches of heavy wet snow per hour, 30 to 40 mile per hour winds, drifting and blowing snow, white-outs, the whole works.  We got buried.  The initial storm dumped 57 inches of snow on us, and the follow-up lake effect snow later in the week gave us another 21 inches, for a snow total of 78 inches of snow in a single four-day period, or six and a half feet of snow.  That's an entire winter's worth of snow all at once (and I'm suitably amazed that we get six and a half feet of snow per winter).  Our house was buried, the front door was blocked with snow, and several roofs collapsed in our area.  I managed to shovel out the front door, and luckily our roof didn't collapse, and the national guard (I think?) was brought in to help with snow removal.  We have had dump trucks and bulldozers removing snow at all hours of the day and night, just in the immediate residential area where I live, for the last three days.  The snow plows were getting stuck in the snow during the initial blizzard, and though I saw one scoot down the street once the first day, there wasn't another one again until today.  I guess they either all got stuck, or were all working elsewhere.  But, we're almost all shoveled out now, and there's only minor damage to the garage and the gutters.  Me, I'm wrecked.  I can barely move.  Shoveling the snow was like shoveling ice.  You had to break it up for a few minutes first, just to get a shovel full.  Then you had to carry the weight of an anvil's worth of ice and snow, toss it over a snow drift that was taller than you were, and then walk back over the icy narrow walkway you just cleared and do it all over again, just to make a few inches headway.  Initial reports by the newscasters that the snow was light and fluffy were not only untrue, but deeply painful to me personally, in so many ways.  I hurt all over, and I want morphine.  Lots of it.

For those that are interested, Charlie Brown's thanksgiving special is on wednesday night at 8 pm.  I forget what channel it's on, but at least you know when, so you can look for it.  I've been watching the Peanuts holiday specials since I was a kid, and my favorite of the three is the Thanksgiving one.  The Halloween one is all about Charlie Brown getting rocks, and Linus awaiting the great Pumpkin.  The Christmas one focuses on the special religious significance of the holiday, which is all sappy and nice and all, but doesn't really reflect how I feel around the holidays.  The thanksgiving one is more my cup of tea.  It is really all about the food, and having fun, which sums up all four seasonal holidays for me, from Halloween til New Year's.  In the Thanksgiving Peanuts special, there's several fun scenes of Snoopy having a battle with a lawn chair, playing a little basketball, and hanging out with Woodstock (the little yellow bird), while charlie brown tries to organize a short turkey day feast.  What I find so amusing is that, while Snoopy actually cooks two meals that day, the first one, for Charlie Brown and friends, has toast, and jelly beans, and popcorn.  The second one, Snoopy manages to somehow perfectly cook a turkey, and make a pumpkin pie, and he and woodstock have a feast all their own.  Makes you wonder why Snoopy didn't just cook the good stuff the first time around, doesn't it?

I for one am thankful that I survived our latest round of winter storms here, in what I used to think was called the snow capital of the world (which it may well be).  For my part of the world, 4 days and nights of continuous lake-effect blizzards are all really just part of another winter.  We get one of these bad storms every two to three years or so.  That's not to make light of the 13 deaths from the storm that I know of so far, from those caught on the roads and frozen to death in their cars, to the people who had heart attacks while shoveling, but dammit, there was THUNDERSNOW, which I love.  I'm just glad I wasn't one of the heart attack victims.  I usually do my shoveling late at night, and I can't imagine a worse death than having a heart attack out on the driveway by myself and not being found til morning.  There's tons of other things I should be thankful for, and I might go into those next weekend, but that'll do for now.

I hope everyone has a nice Thanksgiving holiday, those that celebrate it.  Catch you guys next week, when I will hopefully have recovered from my shoveling-induced agony, and all the wine I shall be drinking on Thursday (and friday, and saturday).  :-D

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