Two late-80’s relics unite for a decently entertaining although transparent actioner, directed by Swedish filmmaker Mikael Håfström. Escape Plan is in theaters October 18, 2013. Rated R for violence and language throughout.
Sylvester Stallone plays Ray Breslin, the foremost authority on prison break prevention. Working freelance with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Breslin poses as an inmate (guards and warden unaware) and uses his intellect and MacGyver-like ingenuity to escape imprisonment. He documents and reports his methods with the intention of plugging the holes in the prison system, and he makes a hefty payday doing it. However, a proposal handed down by a CIA operative, promises to be the most difficult and covert assignment yet. The assigned prison is an off-the-record, privately funded shadow unit intended to house those criminals that “no one wants on their books”. Reluctantly abandoning his creed, Beslin agrees to the job.
On the inside, Breslin buddies up with the beguiling Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to carry out some of his dirty work. The two inmates frequently butt heads with the ominous warden, Hobbes (Jim Caviezel), so that Breslin can study the inner workings of a seemingly perfect jailhouse. The warden is always wary of the prison population, and employs a sadistic approach to correcting disobedience. It’s almost to much to bear for Breslin when he discovers his assignment is suspect- he’s been setup by someone on the outside.
With exception to Expendables, this is the first time we’ve seen the charismatic Stallone and Schwarzenegger working together. It’s a shame, because the two actors have great chemistry and not one overshadows the other. Escape Plan isn’t as zealous as Expendables either. It’s a much tamer and smarter (use that adjective lightly) flick, reminiscent of the fun action thrillers of the 80’s and early 90’s. But it’s not without its disappointments. Escape Plan is about as formula and obvious as it gets, not offering a crazy or unique plot twist to justify its existence. Håfström’s special effects and stunts are par for course as well. Escape Plan will satisfy an aging fan base, but its success will depend on whether the marquee team-up can generate enough attendance. Family men everywhere…start plotting your escape and go see this one.