After seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lame return to leading action movies with The Last Stand, I was ready for him to bow out of show business again. When I heard how bad Stallone’s similar return was with Bullet to the Head, I was ready for the two of them to disappear together. Wanting nothing to do with Escape Plan, I secretly hoped that the studio wouldn’t screen it for press. Much to my dismay, they did. And much to my surprise, it wasn’t horrible!
Please note that I’m reviewing Escape Plan as if I’d been transported back in time to early-mid ’90s and screened it there. Action movies have come a long way since then – yet the filmmakers decided to ignore the new styles and stick the two unlikely leads in their comfort zones.
Stallone plays the lead character, Ray Breslin – a highly intelligent escape artist who’s earned his wealth by selling himself to the feds. For absurd amounts of money, he allows himself to be thrown into prison, only to have to find a way out and reveal each penitentiary’s weaknesses. His ego gets the best of him when a large paycheck is presented in return for his services in a new supposedly escape-proof facility. Off the grid and completely out of contact with his team, Breslin finds himself at the hands of brutal, violent men who act outside the law. His life is literally on the line, so this escape attempt is real.
Realizing his dire situation, Breslin makes friends with an inmate named Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger). Once buddied-up, Escape Plan leaves behind the cheesy low-budget feel of an average Summit Entertainment flick and becomes a textbook “buddy movie.” There are laughs, plenty of punch-’em-up moments and mindless never-ending shootouts. The movie may be a little long-winded, but at least it’s somewhat entertaining – not to mention worlds better than it should have been.
Although I enjoyed Escape Plan, I cannot recommend it to anyone who doesn’t love Sly and Arnie and/or 20-year-old action movies.
Photo credit: Summit Entertainment