I guess most critics will be happy that Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are finally locked away in a supermax facility. Granted the paring of these two action stars isn’t synonymous with dramatic acting, but “Escape Plan” isn’t about acting. It’s about how much stuff can you blow up, and how many bad guys can you beat the hell out of in two hours?
With this premise in mind, “Escape Plan” succeeds.
Stallone plays security expert Ray Breslin, an escape expert who specializes in breaking out of penitentiaries by finding flaws in their installation. Needles to say, Breslin is successful at his job. That is until he’s hired by the CIA (the all purpose bad guys) to break out their new supermax prison designed to hold terrorist, drug kingpins, Klingons and other high-priority criminals. The privately run, off-the-grid detention center, is run by a ruthless warden (Jim Caviezel), an efficiency geek whose hobby is torturing inmates.
Naturally Breslin is doubled-crossed by the CIA (Surprise!), or there be no point to the movie. Breslin would just be a guy sitting in his cell with a lot of time on his hands. Breslin turns to jailhouse badass Emile Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), to help him escape and find out who’s behind his permanent incarceration.
Rounding out the cast, Vincent D’Onofrio from “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” is Breslin’s business partner, and 50 Cent plays Breslin’s nerdy computer tech. Neither actor has much to do. However, 50 Cent does manage a lot of facial expressions. A dear friend told me that facial expressions are one of first things they teach you in acting school. Looks like he’s mastered it.
“Escape Plan” is an easy movie to shoot holes through, and I suspect many critics will. But taken on it’s own terms, “Escape Plan” is fun escapism (pardon the pun). A high-octane popcorn movie that director Mikael Hafstrom successfully directs traffic through so that no one gets hurt. And seeing Stallone and Schwarzenegger team up on screen is fun. That’s something they should have done during their heyday in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Better late than never. Right?
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