Escape Plan is a dream come true for action movie buffs. The film has action movie legends Stallone and Schwarzenegger appearing together for the first time since they made the Expendables films.
Sly Stallone stars in the film as Ray Breslin, a man who gets banged up in his own prison. Ray designs high security jails and he is hired to help create a super prison that no one can escape from which he does. Unfortunately he is then duped into testing the prison security by allowing himself to be incarcerated there. The idea is for Ray to test how good the security is by trying to escape. If he fails then he has done his job at designing a prison that is escape-proof. Ray is the victim of a double-cross however as the people who hired him have no intention of letting him escape. They plan on leaving him in jail until he dies and he now has to find a way to get out or live the rest of his life behind bars. While inside he teams up with Arnold Schwarzenegger who plays an inmate with the unusual name of Swan Rottmayer. Swan and Ray decide to break out together and find out who was behind the frame up. The guards in the prison wear body armor and creepy black masks which is unusual. The prison itself looks interesting and it will be cool to find out what makes the place so difficult to escape from.
The film has a nice supporting cast including Jim Caviezel who is actually rather good at playing villains. He plays Hobbes the corrupt warden of the prison which is known as The Tomb. Incidentally that name was also meant to be the title of the film until it was changed to Escape Plan. Vinnie Jones also has a role in the film as a corrupt guard called Drake. There was a rumour that Jones was going to play third inmate who escapes with Stallone and Schwarzengger but that turned out to be false. Vinnie still looks like a hard nut with a menacing stare so he will be convincing here. The ex-rapper Curtis Jackson aka 50 Cent also appears rather surprisingly as a guy who is good with computers. He seems keen to avoid being typecast as gangster characters. Vincent D’Onofrio, Sam Neill and Amy Ryan also star in the film.
Stallone has starred in this kind of genre flick before. Some buffs will remember him trying to escape from prison in films like Lock Out and Tango & Cash. Escape Plan looks a bit better than those films as it doesn’t appear to be quite as over the top. The trailer shows that Arnie still gets to utter a few comedic lines now and then though which is cool. In one scene he mentions how Stallone “hits like a vegetarian” during a staged fight between the two tough guys. Arnie’s performance will remind viewers of his earlier roles where he always threw in a few cheesy one-liners to add a bit of levity. The two actors will no doubt work well together and the viewer can expect plenty of punch-ups. Macho quips will probably also be in abundance here as the two leads show they still have what it takes to kick ass.
The acting seems tolerable in the film as both the leads are playing roles they are comfortable with. Both actors have large personalities and good on-screen personas which makes them entertaining to watch in films.They are also in good shape despite their age. Jim Caviezel looks like he is enjoying hamming it up as the warden and Curtis Jackson plays a serious character with no stereotypical slang or ebonic talk.
Amy Ryan and Vincent D’Onofrio are both good character actors so reliable performances from them are expected too. Sam Neill doesn’t get a speaking role in the trailer but he will no doubt get a decent bit of screen time in the full movie.
Escape Plan should be a nice homage to the prison break flicks from back in the day. It’s always a treat to see Arnie and Sly working together and their presence will be a benefit. The trailer explains the plot but also has a little bit of humour thanks to Arnie’s one liners and some nice action scenes. The Swedish director Mikael Håfström has done some good work in the past particularly in horror films including 1408 with John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. His directing style is workmanlike which is good enough. The musical score in the trailer is unremarkable but the editing is nice with plenty of well placed quick cuts, camera pans and screen fades.
Movie fans who enjoy action and old school Hollywood tough guys can catch the film when it is released on October 18th. Check out the trailer and share your thoughts.