Saturday, 11 October 2014

Film Review #69

Escape Plan (2013)
Director: Mikael Håfström Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Curtis Jackson, Sam Neill, Vinnie Jones, Faran Tahir, Vincent D'Onofrio, Amy Ryan, Caitriona Balfe

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 115 Minutes

Tagline: "No one breaks out alone"

Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Seeing those two names together on a movie poster/cover should be more than enough to convince film fans from my generation to watch the title in question all by itself. It was certainly enough for me. My interest was piqued the moment I heard about it, without even knowing anything about the plot. Did it even matter? It's muthafukkin Sly and Arnie for goodness sake. Together! Yes, I know they've previously appeared on screen together in the Expendables series but that's not really the same as the pair of them topping a cast list alone. The first of them to appear is Sly who plays Ray Breslin, co-owner of a Los Angeles-based security firm. Ray spends much of his time getting sent into maximum security prisons under the guise of a real convict and then trying to escape in order to test how secure the staff and facilities are.

I don't like these cells, people can see you pooping :(

After an opening demonstration of this, Ray and his partner, Lester Clarke (D'Onofrio), are offered a very risky but very lucrative deal by an ex-CIA agent (Balfe). After cautiously accepting, Ray becomes 'Anthony Porthos', a Spanish terrorist, and allows himself to be captured and sent to a new, top-secret, and off-the-books prison in an undisclosed location. Soon after arriving, however, he finds his cover blown and a corrupt warden (Caviezel) who has been paid to keep him inside for life. Bah! The only option left is the same as his original goal - to escape - but he'll need help, especially now that he knows he's receiving special attention. That help unsurprisingly comes in the hulking form of Arnie, who plays the mysterious Emil Rottmayer, and comes with a very simple price-tag - he'll help if he can tag along! It's not likely to be an easy escape though, as the prison was designed and built according to Ray's own security manual.

Yeah! You know you're glad to see him again :)

So, it's not only a Sly 'n' Arnie film then, but also a prison escape film too? That sounds too awesome to comprehend, and indeed, early signs are promising as Ray makes friends and enemies while analysing the facilities and keeping an eye on the guards' movements but the third act disappointingly descends into generic action film territory. I suppose it was inevitable really but the breakout itself is not nearly as nerve-wracking as it should have been, with our stars resorting to force rather than ingenuity. The long-awaited pairing is a bit of a let-down too. Both stars do a fine, if unremarkable job, but most of their exchanges aren't especially memorable. They should've been sizing each other up, dropping smart one-liners, perhaps even starting out as adversaries before reluctantly teaming up. But no, they're just two fairly normal guys who just happen to be in a crazy prison.

Grrr! Restrained by some stupidly-attired guards...

Their support is quite good though. In addition to those mentioned we get Sam Neill as the sympathetic prison doctor, a typically hammy Vinnie Jones as the prison's head of security, Faran Tahir as another inmate (who's a bit of a dick to start with), and Amy Ryan and 50 Cent as Ray's colleagues on the outside desperately trying to figure out just where in tarnation he is, but overall this is something of a wasted opportunity. It's almost as if the producers don't even realise who they've got in their film! Fans of a certain age (*cough*) have been crying out to see these two muscle-bound oafs together, the whole film should've been built around that. It could've been awesome, it should've been awesome, but in the end it's just another action film. It's not a bad one and it was fairly enjoyable, but I can't help thinking of what it wasn't rather than what it was.

RKS Score: 6/10



  1. Didn't think much to this, very watered down action, didn't make much sense and Arnir can't seem to act at all anymore.

  2. I thought Arnie was okay, for his standards anyway, but the film was rather disappointing :| I suppose Prison Break spoiled us as far as breakouts are concerned :P

  3. "..with our stars resorting to force rather than ingenuity". I had to laugh at this. Arnie does "resort to force" quite often in his 80s movies "Blow off some steam, Bennett!" etc... :-)

  4. Yeah, I guess it was to be expected but you'd think a prison breakout film these days would have some really clever escape rather than just shooting everyone (possibly, for those who haven't seen it!). Talking of Bennett, you might enjoy my Top Five Arnie Quips... :P

  5. Yes, I saw that, very funny! Arnie really is a legend, sometimes simple due to bad acting. Does he have any memorable quips in this film? I'd love that. :-)

    Of course the cynical put down comes from James Bond, who always had a one liner when a baddy dies gruesomely... But Arnie followed that tradition in most of his movies.

  6. Talking of Arnie, I'd highly recommend Total Recall on the ZX Spectrum. Excellent platform game with lots of depth and exploration. Also had driving sequences! On of the Speccy's finest platformers IMO.

  7. I can't really remember too much of Arnie's dialogue from this which I guess must mean it's not too memorable! I've actually considered a Top Five Bond Quips post as well but I need to rewatch many of them as it's been far too long...

    I didn't see very good reviews of the Total Recall game when it came out but I'll take your word for it and give it a try :P I'm a little prejudiced against licensed games though!