Runtime: 1 HR 55 MIN
Director: Mikael Håfström
Writers: Miles Chapman, Jason Keller
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Faran Tahir, Amy Ryan, Sam Neill, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, Caitriona Balfe
Individually Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger haven’t had a very good year. In January Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand was released; it was a fun little action film that didn’t fare well at the box office. A month later Stallone’s Bullet to the Head fared even worse by being a bomb both critically and financially. Now they’re working together in the prison break film Escape Plan where they hope to recapture some of the magic they found in The Expendables.
Ray Breslin (Stallone) makes his living by breaking out of prisons to test the effectiveness of their security. When he and his team are offered a huge payday to test out an experimental facility he accepts the job over their objections but it turns out to be a setup. Trapped inside a prison built using techniques he developed and run by a sadistic warden, Breslin must team up with another desperate inmate (Schwarzenegger) to form the perfect escape plan.
No one should delude themselves into thinking Escape Plan is anything it’s not. Instead the audience should just appreciate it for the lowbrow entertainment that it is. If you’re able to do that Escape Plan will be a worthwhile escape from reality.
If you’ve seen 1992’s Sneakers starring Robert Redford you’ve already got part of the premise down- a guy makes his living testing security systems, he’s made an offer he should but can’t refuse by a mysterious third party and then finds himself in the middle of a much larger conspiracy with his life on the line. That’s where the similarities end; instead of the Sundance Kid and his team taking on a ponytailed Ben Kingsley this film focuses on Sly Stallone teaming up with Arnold Schwarzenegger to escape a high tech super prison run by the torturous Son of God, Jim “Jesus” Caviezel.
The main attraction of Escape plan is the teaming up of Stallone and Schwarzenegger but something has to be said about the supporting cast which is borderline genius. What other movie could you find a more random and amusing cast then in Escape Plan? Vincent D’Onofrio in a Boss Hogg suit, a bespectacled 50 Cent who spouts amazing dialogue like “Sleepy time, motherfucker,” a bearded Sam Neill, and the sadistic son of god himself Jim Caviezel, who’s villainous performance is one of best since Michael Shannon’s unhinged role in 2012’s Premium Rush.
Escape Plan is a lot of fun which is something that a lot of action movies struggle with. The dialogue is lighthearted with more than enough one liners to satisfy fans of old school action films of the 80s and 90s. Even with two stars that are both quickly approaching seventy years of age the action is still semi believable which is to say you probably won’t roll your eyes too much as they kick the asses of men half their age.
Senior citizen action stars trying to escape from prison won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but for a certain audience it’s going to be just what the doctor ordered. Stallone and Schwarzenegger delivery enjoyable performances while the remaining cast is delightfully hilarious in their respective roles as well. In a day and age where good, old fashioned action films are hard to come by Escape Plan does a great job of reminding us of how things used to be.