Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Escape Plan

Release date: October 18, 2013
Running time: 116 minutes
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson
Who to see it with: Nostalgic action fans


Escape Plan is the latest attempt to capitalize on nostalgia for aging action stars. Stallone plays Ray Breslin, owner of a firm that tests prison security by sending himself in and breaking out. The story starts slowly and seems to set up a mediocre thriller, an impression not helped by 50 Cent's introduction as the firm's computer expert (accompanied by an out of place Amy Ryan). Fortunately, things heat up when the firm's next case places Ray within a high-tech, seemingly inescapable, facility where he encounters inmate Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) and slimy warden Hobbs (Caviezel).

Once the story arrives at its primary setting, EP becomes the type of fun, corny action flick that its leads once regularly made. Stallone and Schwarzenegger trade silly banter, their fellow inmates are sometimes over-the-top, and Caviezel really plays up the warden's sleaziness. Sam Neill shows up as the prison's seemingly normal doctor. The prison is kind of cool, looking oppressively high-tech but realistically mundane. Stallone basically plays a standard know-it-all hero, and his character mostly bores until he becomes the straight man to Schwarzenegger's joker. They're fun to watch, but the movie really rides on nostalgia and its leads' reputations. Without Schwarzenegger, it would be a lame thriller with little to recommend. He plays his role perfectly and knowingly, especially when Rottmayer tries to distract guards with his incredibly hammy acting. Fans of Schwarzenegger and eighties' action should rent Escape Plan and will likely find it a fun reminder of his past work, but those with little interest in either should pass.


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