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Escape Plan - Review

The Escape Plan

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

SYLVESTER Stallone has described Escape Plan as a thinking man’s action movie. But the most it’ll make you think about is whether it really makes sense.

There are some intriguing scenarios at play but few stand up to close scrutiny and this ultimately comes down to being an action film that stands or falls on the chemistry of its leading men.

In that regard, Stallone and new inseparable Arnold Schwarzenegger deliver good value and even get to throw a couple of punches at each other. Once fierce box office rivals, they now appear to love making films together and that translates well to the audience.

But the material once more leaves a lot to be desired. The plot follows expert prison escapologist Breslin (Stallone) as he agrees to an off the books government offer to stress test a new high security facility designed to keep the world’s deadliest criminals under lock and key.

Once inside, however, Breslin finds himself betrayed, cut off from his colleagues and under the control of a sadistic warden, Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) who prides himself on having created an escape proof facility based upon Breslin’s own recommendations. Breslin must therefore team up with fellow inmate Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) to find a way out.

Formerly known as The Tomb, Mikael Håfström’s film strives hard to put a different spin on the prison break genre but still panders to many conventions and is reminiscent of at least two of Stallone’s past efforts (Lock Up and Tango & Cash) as well as Face/Off.

It also benefits from a much better cast than the material deserves, with colourful support coming from the surprise likes of Amy Ryan, Vincent D’Onofrio and Sam Neill – although 50 Cent as a computer whizz is a bit of a stretch!

As good as the window dressing looks, however, this still comes down to it’s main men and does deliver some fan-pleasing moments. Schwarzenegger gets the best ones, including an over-sized machine gun sequence in gratuitous slow-mo, and seems to have a better measure of how absurd things really are.
But Stallone does, admittedly, have to play things more straight and gives it his best.

Hence, while the film does promise a lot more than it ultimately delivers, there is a guilty pleasure quality about it too.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 113mins
UK Release Date: October 18, 2013