Remember when you wanted the most famous action stars in the world to star in a movie together, then it finally happened, and it was just ok? Well, here’s another example of a “just ok” movie staring the world’s favorite aging action stars: Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Escape Plan. We follow Ray Breslin (Stallone) who is one of the world’s foremost authorities on structural security. He likes breaking out of ultra-secret, high-tech facilities to see where the flaw is. He is hired to test out the latest super prison nicknamed “The Tomb”. Deceived and wrongly imprisoned, he must recruit fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) to help devise a plan to escape the impossible prison they find themselves in. Thus action, quick one-liners, and old man fighting ensue.
The movie isn’t great, but it’s also not bad. It sadly falls in the middle, which will borderline on forgettable by next week. It feels and comes off as a made for TV HBO/Showtime type movie that would have been a straight to DVD type film, but with the star power of Stallone and Schwarzenegger, it got a theater release. If they weren’t in this, it would never have been made. Honestly as a fan of these two dudes, they deserved a better movie for them to be in where they team up and kick ass.
The movie suffers under the weight of stereotypical characters and plenty of loose plot holes. For an action movie, that’s pretty much par for the course, but here they feel forced and sloppy. Things are quickly mentioned but never really come back, nor are they important to the overall plot, which is rather simple: To break out of “The Tomb”. The snappy dialogue and playful interaction between Stallone and Arnold itself is fun, you can see these two guys know exactly what they’re making. They have a pretty strong friendship outside movies and it shows in this one. They generally enjoy making funny jabs and jokes at each other’s expensive, and if anything else, that is fun to watch. It’s like hanging out with two old friends.
Keeping Schwarzenegger and Stallone in prison is the corrupt warden, Jim Caviezel, and his best goon, Vinnie Jones. Both play really good bad guys, are fun to watch, and seem to be having a good time playing bad. Caviezel tries to have some sort of accent, which comes and goes throughout out the movie, not sure what he was trying to do there. It doesn’t take you out of the flick, but you are going to notice it for sure. And Jones does his normal badass English footballer thing he is known for. Being a former footballer, he knows how to look and be tough, so why try to make him change?
Playing the parts of Stallone’s team who are out looking for him after his disappearance is Amy Ryan and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. Both are good and come off as caring and will doing anything to find Stallone. Ryan has little to do, which is a waste of a talented actress. 50 Cent is pretty funny, and is a ticking time bomb under his coolness, but because of his lack of character, he is so under developed we never get to see him become the badass he talks about being. Feels like a wasted opportunity for the movie.
Vincent D’Onofrio and Sam Neil have cameos and are great in them. It would have been nice to have more of Neil’s doctor character. He’s kind of a mystery character for the movie. He seems to know more than what he should, but can’t talk about it. It feels like he is also being held against his will, but with lack of time and what not, the movie never explores it. It feels like most of his scenes ended up on the cutting room floor sadly.
For an action flick, there isn’t much. A few fight scenes here and there, which are good, but with the two big guns staring in this, there should have been a little more. Most of the big action takes place towards the end when Stallone and Schwarzenegger are making their big break. They each have their own “big action” moments. Stallone gets to fight a big guy with his fists and Arnold gets a really big gun. They both get to do what they each do best: Look badass and blow everything up. And if the cheers in the theater when they did this are any indication, they both still “got it” in some aspect.
Over all, the movie isn’t bad, just not very good. But if you can turn your mind off for a little while to sit back and watch your two favorite movie badasses together then you should be all right. It’s a very standard action film, with little or no thought needed to enjoy. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.