Saturday, October 19, 2013

Movie Review -- Escape Plan

Today I saw the new movie Escape Plan, starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. So without further ado, let's get into it.

Stallone stars as Ray Breslin, a man who breaks out of prisons for a living in order to make them as secure as possible. Together with his team (Amy Ryan, 50 Cent and Vincent D'Onofrio), he has successfully busted out of over a dozen correctional facilities. One day Breslin is approached for a unique job: Test a new top-secret high-tech prison--called the Tomb--for terrorists and other enemies of the state. With the pay being twice what he usually makes, he agrees. However, his violent entry into the Tomb makes it clear this job is not what it was supposed to be. And when he meets the sinister Warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel), he finds out the hard way that he was set up; someone arranged for him to go to prison...for good! With few options, Breslin teams up with Rottmayer (Swarzenegger) to form a...get ready for it...escape plan! But they can't go it alone, so they recruit Jihadist(?) Javed (Faran Tahir of Star Trek and Iron Man fame) and reluctant Dr. Kyrie (Jurassic Park's Sam Neill) to help them. Will Breslin be able to not only find out where the Tomb is located, but who set him up? And can our ragtag protagonists do the impossible and escape this seemingly escape-proof prison?

Stallone makes movies of varying quality. For every Rocky or Rambo, he also does a handful of films that aren't quite up to par. Escape Plan falls somewhere in the middle. It's intelligent in parts, and I appreciate all the research and thinking that went into this, but I wouldn't even put it on the same level as The Expendables. For one thing, Stallone's character just isn't as fleshed-out as Rocky Balboa or John Rambo. His motivation for repeatedly breaking out of prisons is admirable, but it's still not enough to get me to really root for him. Likewise, Schwarzenegger's character remains similarly flat (though in all fairness, nobody goes to an Arnie movie for character development). Also, the action is predictable (though still entertaining) and the big revelation about who set Breslin up happens too abruptly to be appreciated.

Bottom line: Escape Plan succeeds as an action movie, though not one on par with Stallone's best work.

"Want to get dinner?"
"I could cook."
"Haven't I suffered enough?"

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