Escape Plan (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner16/10/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Watchable prison thriller that's given an extra boost by the Stallone/Schwarzenegger pairing, though you probably wouldn't bother if they weren't in it.

What's it all about?
Directed by Mikael Håfström (1408), Escape Plan stars Sylvester Stallone as Ray Breslin, a structural security expert who's regularly hired to test out the security of various jails, and who then gets a multi-million dollar deal to try and break out of the world's most secret and secure prison. Needless say, things don't quite go according to plan this time round and once incarcerated, Ray quickly realises he's been set up and that he's at the mercy of sadistic warden Hobbes (Jim Caveziel).

Still, set up or not, Ray's job of escaping is essentially the same so he sets about doing what he's good at. In the process, he teams up with grizzled inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who tells Ray he'll help him escape if he'll take him with him. Meanwhile, Ray's team of assistants (Amy Ryan and Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson) realise that Ray's business partner (Vincent D'Onofrio – never trust Vincent D'Onofrio) is in on the double-cross, and so attempt to work out the location of the prison.

The Good
To be fair, Stallone (67) and Schwarzenegger (66) both look in pretty good shape considering they would each qualify for a free bus pass in the UK. At any rate, they are both more than capable of taking care of themselves in the prison yard etc, so there are punch-ups aplenty and Håfström does a decent job with the fight scenes, even if the accompanying dialogue (“You hit like a vegetarian,” taunts Schwarzenegger) occasionally leaves something to be desired.

Stallone and Schwarzenegger can do this sort of thing in their sleep, but they both put the effort in and thankfully the script avoids making jokes that refer to their previous films (e.g. having Schwarzenegger say “I'll be back” or something). Caviezel makes an enjoyably villainous warden and there's surprisingly good support from Vinnie Jones as Hobbes' henchman (leading to an enjoyable Stallone vs Jones smackdown), though the likes of Amy Ryan and Sam Neill (as the prison doctor) are both rather wasted in tiny roles. Still, at least Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson gets to play something other than a pimp for once.

The Bad
The predictable script is fairly cheesy and the motivations aren't especially convincing (Caviezel's character in particular, who somehow develops an instant hatred of Ray), but it's decently paced throughout, even if you can't help wishing there was a bit more to it at times. For example, the filmmakers only bother giving one other inmate (Faran Tahir as Javed) anything resembling a character and even that comes across as a clumsy, if admittedly commendable attempt tointroduce a positive Muslim portrayal.

Worth seeing?
Escape Plan is never less than watchable thanks to the entertaining pairing of its two stars and some decent fight scenes, but the plotting feels lazy and you can't help wishing it had a bit more substance to it.

Film Trailer

Escape Plan (15)
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Content updated: 27/03/2019 00:08

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