At the Movies: Escape Plan

“Rush.” “Gravity.” “Captain Phillips.” That’s a pretty good run of high-quality movies. But nothing lasts forever.

Which isn’t to say that “Escape Plan” is a bad movie. It’s dumb fun in an ’80s action-movie way. But it’s not going to be on anybody’s short list (or long list) when awards season comes along.

escape_plan_ver4_xlgSylvester Stallone stars as Ray Breslin, an expert who wrote the book on prison security. Breslin earns his living going undercover into detention facilities and figuring out ways to escape them.

One day he’s approached by a young woman claiming to represent the Central Intelligence Agency. Several governments have joined together to build a super prison to house the most evil of men. They want to make sure no one can ever break out of it. Breslin is offered a lot of money to take on this gig, and he agrees.

Once inside “The Tomb,” Breslin realizes he’s made a big mistake. When he tries to use his get-out-of-jail-free card on the Warden Willard Hobbs (Jim Caviezel), the warden doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Someone (for reasons that frankly were never clear to me) wants Breslin to stay entombed for good.

Breslin is befriended by Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), an inquisitive inmate who is good at getting things. Together the two men begin working on a plan to escape their impregnable cell.

“Escape Plan” features interesting set designs and an interesting ensemble in service to a pretty bog standard prison-escape story. This is not “The Shawshank Redemption.” There’s your standard evil warden and sadistic head guard (Vinnie Jones) versus one unjustly imprisoned man who is aided by some guys we probably shouldn’t be cheering for.

But let’s be honest, the only reason anyone is going to see “Escape Plan” is to see action movie icons Stallone and Schwarzenegger share the screen. And from that perspective the movie is fairly entertaining. Their charisma makes up for a mountain of plot holes.

This is mainly Stallone’s film but Schwarzenegger does a good work with considerably less screen time. Stallone comes across as pretty dour throughout while Schwarzenegger seems to be having a good time. The two men play off each other very well.


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