The latest film from director David Ayer, who continues with similar themes from his last film ‘End of Watch‘, although he has largely ditched the hand held camera aspect this time around. We once again are put in the midst of American law enforcement, this time a squad of hard as nails DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) operatives led by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, with Sam Worthington, Mireille Enos, Joe Manganiello, Terrence Howard, Josh Holloway, Max Martini, Kevin Vance and Mark Schlegel rounding out the rest of the group. Catchphrases like ‘high octane’ and ‘adrenaline fuelled action’ could probably be used to describe the action but really I think the term ‘sick’ is the most accurate descriptor for the piece. The team are caught up in a scandal when they all decide to steal some of the bad guy’s money before they burn the majority of it, but it’s not waiting at the point of egress as it should be – so where has it gone?
One by one we see the group brutally murdered, and we have to guess if it’s an internal thing, if the hits are being planned by the drug cartels, or if the rest of the department aren’t too happy about a rogue unit planning thefts of millions. The level of bloody violence has really been taken to the nth level here, which is just indulgent and silly – the same as in End of Watch when the officers uncovered all sorts of stuff when they were on the beat, things that you would normally expect to see in horror films. Olivia Williams turns up as the FBI agent assigned to investigate the assassinations and the acting is fine overall, but the plot, as well as being soaked in buckets of blood, just doesn’t add up in several places. Ayer has the skill to make an exciting action film, but he has to learn to ground it in reality, not the darkest regions of hell.