Escape Plan Review
by Daniel Rester
Escape Plan is a film that’s about 25 years late to the game. It marks the first time 80s action icons Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are paired as the two leads in a film. Seriously, what took so long? Despite the delay, and the fact that the two are now out of their prime, Plan offers a nice helping of nostalgia and thrills.
We kick things off with Stallone’s character locked away in a prison. After a short amount of time, we learn that the character, named Ray Breslin, is a professional at testing the reliability of prisons by breaking out of them. He is then sent to a new high-security prison that is off the map – and filled with plastic cages and no sunlight. Breslin finds the prison to be his toughest job yet, even as he teams up with an inmate named Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) for help. Making matters worse is a strict and cold warden named Willard Hobbs (Jim Caviezel).
Plan has meat and potatoes plotting for the most part, but its premise is interesting enough and its star pairing a main attraction. The movie even has such supporting actors as Amy Ryan, Sam Neill, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Vinnie Jones, and Vincent D’Onofrio to help things out, and a few clever tricks that give it spark. Yes, it’s a silly actioner when all is said and done, but it has enough to it to work for fans of the actors and as “good stupid” for non-fans.
The two hulks have great chemistry together and are obviously having fun in their team up. Stallone still sounds like he has marbles in his mouth, and Schwarzenegger has his usual growls, but that’s part of the charm really. These guys still know how to bust heads and make us laugh while holding the screen and keeping things serious enough; there are a few cheesy one-liners and machine guns just to keep things in perspective, though.
The movie actually becomes dull when it cuts away from the prison and focuses on some supporting characters played by stronger actors. But when Stallone and Schwarzenegger are plotting things and taking out guards, the film soars as an old-school action pic. Surrounding the two guys with a good supporting cast wasn’t a bad move, but the only one who really stands out among them is Caviezel (who is a pretty effective bad guy).
Some critics are blasting Plan because of its obvious flaws. It has a mediocre beginning and denouement, some clunky editing at times, little character development, etc. But with a film like this, why really nitpick? Plan knows what it is and succeeds at doing what it sets out to do. It provides fun escapism for two hours and features two of the biggest action stars in films. My only big complaint is that it took too long to arrive for fans of the stars.
Rating: 3 out of 4 stars (Grade Equivalent for Me: B)