Saturday 14 March 2015

Escape Plan (2013)

I review Mikael Håfström’s disappointing Escape Plan, an action thriller starring Slyvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Vinnie Jones and Sam Neil.

Escape Plan is a movie that should have been a lot more entertaining than it actually was, with the team-up of Slyvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger being one of this movie’s main selling points. It also includes Jim Caviezel, who plays John Reese in Person Of Interest, and I was very interested to see what he could do when he’s not playing the Man In the Suit.

Ray Breslin (Stallone) is the go-to guy for structural security. He can break out of any prison in the world and has been doing this job for several years, with his goal to get out of the facility and test them to see if any real criminals can get out the same way. After his latest escape, Ray is told to infiltrate another prison on an extremely high risk assignment. However, when he finds himself framed and incarnated in a prison that he designed himself, he’s going to have to team up with men on the inside if he wants to find out who put him behind bars.

The film itself on paper should have been a lot more fun than it turned out to be. Yes, it’s clearly not going to win any Oscars, but when you combine arguably the two biggest action stars I was kind of expecting something more than what I was given, Yes, it was good to see them team up, and yes, it was good to see Jim Caviezel there, playing an ultra-slick villain. However, there wasn’t any real enjoyment to be had out of the interactions with the movie lacking the element of fun that say, Guardians of the Galaxy had with its prison escape. The majority of the film is fairly average, and it isn’t really until the final act when the best bits of the film kick in and Stallone and Schwarzenegger really get into gear. Yes, it may be incredibly stupid, but then again, there are worse movies out there than this one.

The characters don’t receive much development at all, and you’ll be referring them more to by their actors than by their names – for example, I watched this film yesterday and the only reason why I remembered Stallone’s character’s name at all was that I looked it up – and I’ve drawn a blank on everybody else’s. That’s really not a good sign for a film but then, you wouldn’t really expect Escape Plan to have that sort of character depth.

There’s also the element of predictability that this film fails to avoid. You know the ending, and you’ll know they’ll make it out of the prison. It doesn’t have any major twists and turns to keep you wondering what will happen next and the near-constant action that you’d expect from a film like this isn’t really there. The twists themselves that we do get are poor, with even Stallone himself having to remind the audience, “I didn’t see that coming,” when of course, you’ve already worked it out by now.

The set-pieces themselves are generic and you really get the feeling that you’ve seen everything that this film has to offer a thousand times before, especially if you’re a fan of the genre. Yes, it gets the job done, and you won’t be completely bored, but could it have done better? Absolutely. If you’re looking for a better action movie, I can recommend Kingsman: The Secret Service, the ever reliable Jason Bourne films or The Raid and its sequel instead. Escape Plan is one that for the most part, you’ll want to stay clear of.

VERDICT: 5.7/10

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