Directed by: Tibor Takacs
Starring: Marc Dacascos, Carrie-Anne Moss, Graham Greene, Tony Todd, John Neville
Michael Bishop is a former Special Forces operative, court martialled after a rescue mission in Bosnia went wrong and he was the only survivor. Now Michael is working as a bodyguard for a rich businessman called Trent. Jason Sherwood is an assassin, responsible for wrecking the mission in Bosnia and almost killing Bishop. Now he has his eyes set on Trent and his wife, and Bishop is in the line of fire...
Marc Dacascos is a pretty solid lead actor here, and the role doesn't depend heavily on his martial arts skills (in fact he only has one, very quick, fight scene in his hotel room). What I liked about his character is that Bishop isn't niaive, he's been an Operative long enough to know how dirty the system is. In fact, the very last line of dialogue suggests he's even more of a "player" than we realized. Tony Todd gets to have a ball as Sherwood. He doesn't do much scenery chewing, but early on he's prone to talking to himself, pantomiming his preparation to shoot Trent. Sherwood enjoys whistling classical tunes to himself, too. There's some real intelligence involved in the way Sherwood operates, such as the subterfuge and misdirection he uses in one of he assassination attempts early on. Another interesting character is Professor Fallenfant, a British former intelligence officer and mentor to Bishop. Fallenfant is in a wheelchair following a failed assassination. He's also gay, with a young live-in lover, and wonders aloud whether that was the reason for the attempt on his life. The film however makes no such judgement about his lifestyle.
However my favourite performance in the film comes from Carrie-Anne Moss. Sabotage was made about two years before the release of The Matrix, so she wouldn't have been as well known back then but its great to see her giving as good a performance here as she did as Trinity. As Special Agent Louise Castle, she is put in charge of the FBI's investigation into the shooting of Trent and has some great establishing scenes. When we first meet her, she is presiding over her daughter's 5th birthday party, and has to rush to the crime scene with a smear of ice-cream still on her face and a chocolate stain on her suit. However she deals authoritatively with the local police vying for jurisdiction, putting the lead detective in his place. She also flirts quite nicely with Bishop over the specs of his pistol. Special Agent Castle is a tough person but at the same time retains her femininity, accepting that she is a mother first and an agent second. She also has no illusions as to why she was brought in to lead the investigation, which is basically a whitewashed cover-up.
There are some strong action scenes throughout the film, starting right at the beginning with the attempted rescue mission. There are a couple of really good stunts - one guy taking a dive through Bishop's hotel window and landing on the roof of a car below. However kudos needs to go to Carrie-Anne Moss's stunt double, who is sent flying backwards through a plate glass window.
Sabotage is a solid action thriller with a nicely cynical streak to its attitude towards global espionage. Dacascos is a solid lead but the real gem performances are in the supporting roles by Tony Todd and Carrie-Anne Moss. Recommended for DTV action fans.
8 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)