Escape Plan

by Alan Rapp on October 19, 2013

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Escape Plan
  • IMDB: link

Escape PlanSylvester Stallone thrown into prison at the whims of a madman is hardly a new story (the plots of both Tango & Cash and Lock-Up include these themes). In Escape Plan, Stallone stars as expert prison escape artist Joe Bresslin who has been working for the last several years to find holes in various prison systems, 14 of which he’s successfully escaped.

After a brief introduction involving Breslin’s escape from his latest job, he and his associates (Amy Ryan, 50 CentVincent D’Onofrio) are approached by a CIA agent (Caitriona Balfe) offering $5,000,000 to Breslin to test out the government’s top secret, and privately run, new rendition facility for those criminals too dangerous to house on U.S. soil once Guantanamo Bay is closed down for good.

Breslin accepts the job, despite the fact that his location will be kept completely secret from his team, meaning he will be going in blind without back-up (breaking all of his usual rules). Of course, it doesn’t take long before things go wrong.

Not long after arriving at “The Tombs” Bresslin realizes he’s been set-up and he has no way to get that information to his team from inside the impregnable private security facility. Although he makes friends with another prisoner (Arnold Schwarzenegger), his fate is at the hands of smug asshole of a prison warden (Jim Caviezel) and his mercenary thugs led by their murderous leader (Vinnie Jones).

The set-up, although more than a little ridiculous, holds up well enough for the B-movie story to unfold. Both Stallone and Schwarzenegger are too old for their roles, but I’ll admit it’s fun watching them interact on-screen. With the escape being the primary goal the movie does a fair job of putting various obstacles in Bresslin’s path. The movie isn’t without its flaws or blind spots, particularly why the warden would ever allow such dangerous inmates to intermingle in common areas and the consequences of Bresslin’s decision to trust terrorists (Schwarzenegger, Faran Tahir) who he plans to help escape.

Escape Plan

The film ends with a few too many twists, one of which is easy to see coming involving a member of Bresslin’s team, and another involving his prison pal that works far better. Director Mikael Håfström keeps a good pace, even if the script by Miles Chapman and Jason Keller leads to a few too many groan worthy lines and sequences. The design of the high-tech prison is visually interesting and provides unique challenges for Bresslin’s escape attempts (as does the choice for location of the secret prison).

Other than it’s design budget and two aging action stars, Escape Plan is the kind of B-movie action flick which would go straight to DVD without Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s involvement. It’s not nearly as smart as it pretends to be, and has some troubling plot issues, but for a throwaway action film Escape Plan is not without some charm.

jerry November 12, 2013 at 4:15 pm

I wasn’t going to go see this but your review convinced me. It was better than I expected.

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