Video Breakdown: Beastie Boys – Sabotage

The Beastie Boys pay homage to classic US cop shows in the Sabotage video

Starsky and Hutch. Cagney and Lacey. Heartbeat. Who doesn’t love a good cop show?

Beastie Boys clearly loved a bit of police drama. So, under the direction of Spike Jonze, the trio created the ultimate homage to the television genre for their 1994 Sabotage video. Bonnet slides, violent arrests and bags of donuts. This video has it all.

Here then, is one of the greatest music videos ever made, scene by scene…


Opening shot reveals a siren. A perp is getting taken down. Possibly to Chinatown. It’s too early to tell. It’s all speculation at this point. Give us a minute, eh?


Fun fact: all US cop shows had to have at least one scene where a car drives through a pile of boxes. They were big on recycling back in the day.


Forward roll. Textbook.


Why push a chainlink fence gate open when you can kick it through with your shiny police shoes? Exactly.


We’re clearly in San Francisco. Imagine doing a hill start around there. You’d shit your pants.


More doors being kicked in. Cops hate knocking.


The first footage of the daredevil hobby Parkour. Nice one.


This chap looks shady. A scoundrel. A scallywag. Fat The Drive-In.


More Parkour! Shit!


Beastie Boys in character, in character. It’s like punk rock hip hop Inception. Still know it’s them, though.


Always nice to see Sir Stewart Wallace. As himself.


And he’s off. But what’s in the suitcase? Knock-off DVDs and Russian cigarettes?


That’s the cigarettes ruined. If the Sabotage video was made now, the story would be about an illegal vaping syndicate.


Nathan Wind as ‘Cochese’? No record of it on IMDB.


There’s Bobby The Rookie, delivering some sweet justice via his knuckles into a human face. A perp’s face, held down on a table.


Alasondro Alegré – aka ‘The Chief’ – digging someone out. City Hall’s gonna bust his balls. That’s classic Alegré, right there.


Fun fact: over a billion donuts were served to US police officers between 1972-1978.


Now it’s getting silly. Who brings a knife to a fist fight? Doesn’t matter, Nathan Wind has just kicked him in the face – a manoeuvre we’d like to call ‘The Wind Of Change’. Because his face was changed beyond repair. Doesn’t matter. The knifeman accidentally ‘fell’ from a bridge moments later. This stuff was all cut from the MTV version, obviously.

02: 05

A fat factory worker in dungarees throws a box at a copper. He gets hurled into some rubbish for his troubles. This is so much better than The Bill.


Alegré smashes in a door with an axe. No time for pleasantries such as knocking or pressing a door bell. Protect, serve… and that’s it.


A car explodes. Looks that scene was borrowed from another film. It’s got a watermark on it.


There’s a sweet montage of everyone in San Francisco getting arrested. That’ll be a shit load of paperwork tonight. Best get some strong black coffee on the go, then. #coplife


Another perp kisses the asphalt. Ugh, more paperwork.


The streets appear to be safe for another day. Here’s proof that not all heroes wear capes. They sometimes wear Farah Flexi-Waist trousers and fake moustaches.

What did we learn from Sabotage?

Farah Flexi-Waist trousers look quite comfortable, but maybe that’s because of all the pizza we’ve eaten recently. And when it comes to music videos, few come close to the Beastie Boys. RIP Adam Yauch.

No Beastie Boys without MCA