Sylvester Stallone is a professional prison escapologist. Now, cut off from his support team, he is in a super secret, super secure, sinister super prison, and must team with Arnold Schwarzenegger to escape. Simple set up, but is this movie worthy of the long wait to see these two action icons together?
Fun seeing these legends together.
Good supporting cast.
Gets better as it goes along.
Writing and direction are uninspired.
Action and thrills fall short.
Director – Mikael Håfström
Writers – Miles Chapman and Jason Keller
Ray Breslin – Sylvester Stallone
Emil Rottmayer – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Hobbes – Jim Caviezel
Javed – Faran Tahir
Abigail – Amy Ryan
Dr. Kyrie – Sam Neill
Lester Clark – Vincent D’Onofrio
Drake – Vinnie Jones
Hush – 50 “Curtis Jackson” Cent
We’ve been waiting years, decades, for this movie. Stallone and Schwarzenegger together, cursing up a storm, and punching baddies in the face. Frankly, I’d've been okay waiting a little longer, until they had a slightly better movie to make. The novelty of seeing these two geri-action stars on screen isn’t quite enough to carry the movie. Too little too late…twenty years too late. Plus, the novelty has been significantly diminished by the Expendables movies. While this is better than the Ex movies, it’s not quite as much fun.
SLY AND ARNIE TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME, AGAIN
The cheesy font that “Escape Plan” comes up in is indicitive of what is to come. The main issue is that it really isn’t the most original of ideas, and it isn’t told in such a way that you can over-look the plot’s short-comings. While the actors are all quite good, but their characters are all rather thin, and what happens to them is a bit too predictable.
Sly and Arnie are both pretty good, with Arnie coming off a little better. The best bit of acting he’s done in decades is his few minutes speaking in German. It is surprisingly good. This is actually the best either of them has been in years, and they’re enjoying it too. Sly looks old though, while Arnie looks good with a beard. However, you do occasionally wish there were subtitles, particularly when they get all expositiony. It can feel a little like The Adventures Of Mumbles And Accent.
THE CAST ARE GOOD
Vincent D’Onofrio is cool, as always. That said, he isn’t exactly trying too hard to breathe life in to his character. 50 “Curtis Jackson” Cent is pleasantly acceptable, and has good chemistry with Sly in the few scenes they have together. Vinnie Jones isn’t half bad either, even if he is just playing Vinnie Jones. He is improving, and is definitely the best footballer-turned-actor I’ve seen. Jim Caviezel is cold, and gives the best performance in the film. He is better than the movie he’s in. The same could be said for Sam Neill. who is criminally under-used. And it’s nice seeing that Amy Ryan from season 2 of The Wire is still working.
The fault primarily lies with the writers and the director. The writers Miles Chapman and Jason Keller haven’t done much before, and it shows. The story developments, and “twists”, are all pretty obvious. It’s uninspired and predictable. Mikael Håfström has directed some acceptable horror movies (1408, The Rite), and does much the same here. It’s pretty much acceptable. The Tomb, which is the name of the fancy-pants inescapable prison (and was the original name of the movie), is kinda cool looking, with their the glass cells and what-not. The guards having masks is a nice sinister touch. That said, it also feels like a cheaper version of the Face/Off prison. There are a few cool moments to be had, and while it is action light there are still one or two good bits. It gets better as it goes along, and while you’re never bored, you’re never really gripped, thrilled, or particularly involved either.
BOTTOM LINE: IT’S ADEQUATE, BUT ULTIMATELY DISAPPOINTING
So…This is the might-see low-octane thriller of 1993. It’s not terrible, but it isn’t particularly good either. Sly and Arnie are good, as is the rest of the cast, but it doesn’t compensate for the uninspired writing and direction. It is cool seeing them on screen together, but just not cool enough.