Directed by Tibor Takács
Michael Bishop is dishonourably discharged from the army when a Navy SEALS hostage rescue mission in Bosnia is sabotaged by rogue soldier Sherwood, who shoots Bishop seven times and frames him for the failed operation. Three years later, Bishop is working as a bodyguard for rich businessman Trent and his wife, but once again finds himself in the line of fire when an unseen hitman takes out his client. With his name at the top of the suspects list, Bishop teams up with FBI agent Louise Castle who’s the only one to believe Bishop that there may be more to the assassination than meets the eye.
Martial arts star Mark Dacascos (Double Dragon) stars as diligent, kind-hearted soldier Bishop in action thriller SABOTAGE. Having once survived sabotage, though barely career-wise, he’s determined to find the truth behind the Trent assassination three years later. Carrie-Anne Moss, in a role prior to her days as ass-kicking Trinity in The Matrix, shows she’s got what it takes as single mum, FBI agent Castle. Eager to gain promotion, she accepts what her superiors say but deep down she knows the case isn’t cut and dry as it seems. She must put her faith in Bishop, a man with a questionable history, but her involvement in the entire case puts her in danger too as those behind the assassination are keen to wipe out anyone who’ll go poking their nose where it isn’t wanted.
SABOTAGE mixes crime drama with intense action with Tony Todd relishing the role as skilful baddie Sherwood. His cool, calm and collected demeanor makes him a force to be reckoned with as he’s constantly one step ahead of the game. Though we get an insight into his plans, most of his plot is a secret as we attempt to unfold the conspiracy with Bishop and Castle who are trying their best to stay out of harms way whilst catching the culprit.
SABOTAGE is rather entertaining in its own right without having to be over the top like most action thrillers post-Millennium attempt to be. It reminds me a little of Nick of Time, another 90’s direct-to-video film, with its stellar performances and solid plot that focuses on the script, twists and delivering the goods right until the very end. During the 90’s and decades previous, substance was very much focused on over style, something which the modern movies could learn a thing or two about. That’s not to say Sabotage doesn’t have flair. It has its fair share of moments throughout the film with a brilliant slow-mo bullet scene during the Trent assassination that thriller fans will adore – a technique that has been mirrored in the likes of videogame Sniper Elite to tremendous effect. There’s the odd fight scene too that will get blood pumping, with Dacascos able to show off his incredible skills, though the film prefers to focus on military style methods such as traps, hi-tech guns and explosives to provide the thrills.
The incredible cast make the film though, for me, with Dacascos and Moss fantastic as our two heroes with a hint of believable romantic chemistry between the two. Todd’s role as Sherwood is a real threat as Bishop and Castle are faced with a very clever individual as an enemy and it’s rather refreshing to have that in a movie. John Neville and Graham Green also put in fantastic performances in their supporting roles as wheelchair-bound Professor Follenfant and lip-balm using, former commander, Nicholas Tollander, respectively.
If I had to pit this Sabotage against the recent Arnold Schwarzeneger action thriller of the same name, this one would come out top. It’s entertaining, endearing and has a lot to offer with its character development, conspiracy plot and solid execution. Though it might not be bloodthirsty or edge-of-your-seat enough for some film fans out there, SABOTAGE certainly hits the right notes for this reviewer.