If Escape Plan was released back in the late 80s/early 90s, this would be the perfect amount of cheese and star power that action fans dream of, but this is the year 2013. The new action movie brings a couple of faded action stars together under one limp wrist story that takes way too long to get us towards the ridiculous action scenes between these two that many of us are dying to see.
- Director: Mikael Håfström
- Writers: Miles Chapman, Jason Keller
- Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Sam Neill, Faran Tahir, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, Amy Ryan
- Cinematography by: Brendan Galvin
- Original Music by: Alex Heffes
Ray Breslin (Stallone) is a man whose job is to break out of prisons, figure out the flaws in their security system and help those facilities fix them. One day he gets in way over his head when he decides to take a new job at a hidden prison. Now he’s fighting to survive alongside a new friend and inmate (Schwarzenegger) in order to get out of the prison before Warden Hobbs (Caviezel) and his guards break him.
- Schwarzenegger/Stallone: We’ve briefly seen the two interact in the latest Expendables movie, but for die hard action fans it’s not enough. In this one we get the dream action scenario we’ve always wanted; a story in which the two are forced to work together, share dull one-liners and shoot random bad guys to kingdom come. We get that in fair portions, but a lot of that doesn’t really kick into the story until what felt like 30 to 45 minutes into the movie. While the wait is rather long, at least we’re able to see Arnold Schwarzenegger begin a fun action scene with a cool slow-motion shot of him getting his hands on a crazy machine gun. Once you see him get his wrinkly hands on it, you know that blood’s going to be split all over the place.
- A Villain You Love To Hate: Personally I do think that Jim Caviezel is a fine actor who just doesn’t get enough love on the big screen for movies that don’t have anything to do with religious figures. He comes off as this mixture of calm, impatience and rage all bundled up into one with his mysterious character Warden Hobbs. They try building up a tiny back story as to why he’s acting this way towards Breslin and company, but it doesn’t really matter. All he really needs to do is deliver snide remarks and make us really believe he’s the kind of a-hole that would make these prisoner’s lives a living hell. It’s just a shame we didn’t have enough of the incredibly rage-filled guard (Jones) on the screen. I would have liked to have seen more of him.
- Cheese Factor: If you’re going into this movie and expect a super serious action flick, think again. Escape Plan is filled with all sorts of corny dialogue, one-liners and scenes that at times are too shrug worthy to laugh at. There’s a couple of jokes flung in your face within the first half of the movie that just fly right over the audience’s head, not because it’s too smart for their tastes but that it just doesn’t really work. Maybe this movie would be more enjoyable if you were put under the influence of alcohol, laughing at it with your friends at somebody’s house.
- Direction: For a movie that was shot recently, the color tone, decent camera work and lackluster CG certainly make Escape Plan feel right at home with other cheesy 90s fodder. In some ways it’s good that the overall direction kind of blends in right with the rest of the action movies of yesteryear. At the same time I was hoping for maybe something a little more interesting, but we are talking about a movie whose sole purpose is to bring these two action stars together.
- Let’s Hurry It Up: Escape Plan sure has a knack for taking awhile to bring us towards our main setting, which is this seemingly impenetrable prison. The script takes it’s sweet time toddling off to the facility, only because it knows that the audience will have enough patience or impatience to sit in their chairs and wait for the inevitable team-up of Stallone and Schwarzenegger to happen on the big screen. Still, I can’t deny that this story does drag a bit and just looses it’s momentum when we get into the big payoff action scenes that would make this movie worth watching.
Escape Plan does little to nothing to really excite moviegoers right out the gate, but the combined star powers of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger make this fairly entertaining enough to watch just to see that.
Escape Plan is out in theaters everywhere this Friday.