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8/31/17

ESCAPE PLAN - REVIEW


After finally joining forces on The Expendables and its sequels, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger collaborated again on Escape Plan. Originally titled "The Tomb", this prison escape actioner from 2013 failed to wow critics and audiences alike upon its release.

The concept is very much a Tango & Cash meets Escape From Alcatraz meets Fortress type of deal as Ray Breslin (Stallone), an expert who can break out of any prison, is dragged to a state-of-the-art facility that's seemingly unescapable where he befriends fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger). Of course, they decide to help each other out and plan an elaborate escape. The film's concept is instantly ridiculous as the first time we meet Breslin, he breaks out of a jail in the least convincing way possible: think MacGuyver meets Keyser Söze. That said, it's a solid setup for a good old-fashioned, tongue-in-cheek action movie the likes of which both leads would have no doubt been a part of back in the 80's, so the film certainly has the right tone. The main villain is Jim Caviezel's Warden Hobbes, an ever-so-slightly bizarre prison warden hell-bent on making Breslin and Rottmayer's lives miserable. His goal is to gather information on a man called Victor Mannheim, a mysterious banker who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, Robin Hood-style.

The film lives up to its simple premise as the "escape plan" in question slowly unfolds in a compelling, reliably goofy way with lots of solid action beats and funny one-liners thrown in. Both Stallone and Schwarzenegger are just as likeable as you'd expect and they single-handedly keep this movie from being completely forgettable straight-to-DVD fare. As amusing as it is, the movie could have definitely done with another draft when it comes to its script as subplots and characters pop in and out of the movie with little rhyme or reason and the whole thing is completely predictable, right down to who will die and how. The likes of Vinnie Jones, Sam Neill, Vincent D'Onofrio and Amy Ryan are completely wasted here as they are stuck with underwritten characters who are given no dimension, motivation, or resolution. This is a shame because they're all very good... when they're on the screen, which is not very much. This reeks of either rushed script trimming or clumsy re-editing, perhaps the film was originally too long so the studio made the director cut half of it out? And whoever cast 50 Cent, of all people, as the tech nerd was obviously trolling us.

Overall, Escape Plan won't go down as one of either star's finest moments but, as a fun, throwaway action flick, it gets the job done. Silly as it is, the plot keeps you interested throughout and both leads clearly have a ball so if you like that kind of movie, you should have a decent time.

Entertaining.

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