Sunday, October 13, 2013

Escape Plan

Year: 2013
Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Amy Ryan, 50 Cent, Sam Neill, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio

Plot: A specialist in prison security is hired to infiltrate a maximum security facility to test it, except when he does, he is imprisoned for real with no way out. He teams up with a fellow inmate to plan an escape.

Review: A team up between Stallone & Schwarzenegger that isn't called The Expendables would be a dream collaboration for anyone who loved them in the 80s. Escape Plan marks the first time these two action icons appear side by side with top billing.

Stallone is Ray Breslin, a guy who designs security for prison facilities by getting in and then breaking out of them. His latest job puts him in a place called The Tomb, where glass walls replace steel bars and there's no view of the outside. Once inside however, his usual protocols don't work and he's held against his will by a mean warden played by Jim Caviezel. He befriends a fellow inmate, Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) and together they try to figure out how to break out.

Director Mikael Hafstrom is someone I consider to be a hit or miss guy (Derailed and Shanghai were good, 1408 and The Rite not so much). However I'm glad to report that he puts in good work here. Escape Plan theoretically doesn't give a lot of chances for Sly and Arnie to do as much damage as they usually do in their films, being in a prison and all. But Hafstrom successfully keeps the momentum going throughout, making sure that whenever there isn't any action, the two guys are doing something important, thus it never gets dull. It also helps that the script by Miles Chapman and Jason Keller is solid and mostly cliche free.

Stallone gets to play a cerebral hero this time around, being a guy who constantly thinks of ways to get out of a prison he's in. Schwarzenegger in contrast is the smart ass guy with the requisite one liners ("You hit like a vegetarian!") and jokes (there's a scene where he starts spouting nonsense in German). The two action stars don't really click on screen at first, but it improves as the film goes along. Caviezel is unexpectedly good as the sadistic Warden Hobbes, who is cool for the most part, but shows a mean streak with a twinkle in his eye. Another surprise is Sam Neill, whom I did not expect to see here. He plays the sympathetic prison doctor well enough, but is unfortunately underused. Amy Ryan and Vincent D'Onofrio put in some good support too, but it's a Stallone Schwarzenegger movie, so don't expect to see them too much here.

The plot throws in several surprises here and there, and I figured out most of them before they were revealed. Even the idea for the prison is kind of a ripoff of a Travolta Cage action film (you know which one). But still, despite its predictability, Escape Plan manages to be entertaining for the most part, which to me is the most important thing.

If you like these two action stars in their heyday, and you don't mind seeing them together now, go check this out. If you like decent action flicks, go check it out anyway. (3.5/5) 

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