Escape Plan Movie Review
Forget Iron Man. Superman, are you kidding me? Wolverine... puh-lease. The action extravaganza of the year is here, and it can be summed up in two words: Stallone. Schwarzenegger. Escape Plan brings the two past-their-prime action stars together for the first time in leading roles and the result is a surprisingly satisfying and thoroughly entertaining affair.
Stallone is Breslin, a security consultant whose specialty is breaking out of prisons. He gets in over his head when an alleged CIA agent hires him to break out of a top-secret, black site prison, only to find himself in prison for real, betrayed for unknown reasons. He teams with fellow inmate Ahnuuuld to escape the seemingly inescapable prison.
I've been pumped for some time for Escape Plan, though the excitement came from the nostalgic teenage boy still trapped inside of me rather than the mature, civilized, tea-sipping sophisticate I have become. Even though the second half of that sentence is a lie, the former holds true: a Stallone/Schwarzenegger combo had me giddy with anticipation.
Of course, people expecting a smart, sophisticated action movie should look elsewhere. There is nothing particularly complex about Escape Plan - Stallone gets put in prison, Stallone meets Ahnuuuld, Stallone and Ahnuuuld break out of prison - and it has just enough clunky one liners ("Have a lovely day... asshole") to satisfy fans of old, but the movie isn't a throwback to cheesy 80's movies either.
Fast-paced, entertaining and adequately directed by Mikael Håfström (1408), Escape Plan plays in the 21st century, a refreshing departure from the still-fun The Last Stand (starring Ahnuuuld) and the less-fun Bullet to the Head (Stallone) that were released earlier this year to little success. It is by no means perfect, but it's a lot of fun.
There are some parts that don't work. The visual effects are lackluster, thought they are used sparingly. There are some farfetched plot holes including reliance on a makeshift compass that makes no sense. And the subplot involving the person responsible for locking Breslin is pointless, and the way the situation is resolved is laughably bad.
Still, Escape Plan almost revels in these small flaws, flaunting them for the audience's amusement. The filmmakers know the movie isn't the most sophisticated of animals, but they know what works. Escape Plan works.
And really, it was destined to work. Remember those two words: Stallone. Schwarzenegger.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.