I didn’t have very high hopes for this film. I’ve never been a huge fan of Stallone, and Arnie hasn’t made a decent flick in over a decade, but I enjoyed The Escape Plan. The film is fun prison break flick that utilises the charisma of both of its leads and also makes good use of Arnold’s comedic ability.
Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a professional escaper. Wardens hire him to go into their prison and attempt to break out, hoping to find any flaws in their design. Breslin and his team (Amy Ryan, Vincent D’Onofrio and 50 Cent) are asked to find their way out of a new state of the art prison designed to hold the worst criminals around. Breslin accepts, but is double crossed by his partner and ends up stuck in jail for good. He must break out of the fortress and avoid the attention of the evil warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel). With the help of another inmate (Schwarzenegger), Breslin must escape from this seemingly inescapable jail.
I found this film very cool. It is a simple plot that is clearly inspired by the tv show Prison Break, but I did love seeing Stallone and Schwarzenegger share the screen. Part of it is a bit bittersweet, because I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if these two action movie legends had appeared in a film twenty years ago when they were in their prime. That would have been some event seeing those two destroy stuff together. I know they have appeared in The Expendables franchise together, but Arnie is barely in the first one and just seems like a caricature of himself in the second. I’d have loved to see these two blowing stuff up in their heyday together. They still have great charisma though, both Stallone and Arnold still have the charm and personality that made them legends years ago, and it is on show here. Arnold has some very funny moments, and Stallone is suitably macho, as you’d expect him to be. This is not going to satisfy everybody, the plot is quite one dimensional, but if you’re looking to relive some of the great 80s movies these two made, you won’t be disappointed.
Can someone explain to me Sylvester Stallone’s appeal? Demolition Man is literally the only movie I’ve ever enjoyed him in, but most of the credit for that film’s success should actually go to Sandra Bullock and Wesley Snipes. He’s not particularly good looking or well spoken. I mean, Arnold Schwarzenegger often has better diction, and English is his second language.
Escape Plan would probably have been awesome in the early 90s when both of these men were in their prime, relatively speaking. Watching them together now is kind of sad (though admittedly less sad than The Expendables movies). Despite trying to prove that these old dudes still got it, I can’t help but think of better movies they’ve both previously appeared in while watching (same with The Expendables… I might just copy and paste this review when we get to that film).
Stallone stars as Ray Breslin, a man paid to break out of prisons to expose vulnerabilities in their security. He is given the ultimate challenge when the CIA asks him to test a top-secret “escapable” prison. Once in the prison Breslin is immediately befriended by another inmate, Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger). Breslin quickly discovers that this is not a typical job, and he’ll need the help of Rottmayer and other inmates to escape.
This isn’t a terrible movie to watch, it’s just a tad on the boring side. There are some good, reasonably disguised twists, but not enough to make this the great film that Stallone and Schwarzenegger fans were probably hoping for. The supporting cast is actually really excellent (Jim Caviezel, Sam Neill, Amy Ryan, Faran Tahir, Vincent D’Onofrio, 50 Cent), but most of the actors are underused. This is Sly and Arnie’s show, just two decades too late and mostly underwhelming.