October 20, 2013

Movie Review: Escape Plan

Thirty years in the making, Stallone and Schwarzenegger are finally together on the big screen and in a full movie. Yes, they had some scenes together in the Expendables movies, but those are big ensembles and don't really count. I have read it took so long because of rejected scripts and scheduling difficulties. I am go along with the second, but it makes me wonder just how ad those scripts were that this was the one that made the cut..

The movie is called Escape Plan and while it has a couple of entertaining moments as the two stars play off of past roles and career similarities. Still, for the most part it is a bit of a bore as we watch the two go through familiar prison break shtick as they mount their escape from an inescapable prison. They are surrounded by familiar faces in largely underused and thankless roles and we are left I was left wondering what the point was.

Stallone stars as Breslin, a guy who has made a career out of escaping prisons. He is no criminal, but he apparently has a knack for point out holes in security at max security installations, even writing a book about it. Of course, his success seems hinged on outside help from his team of experts played by Vincent D'Onofrio, Amy Ryan, and 50 Cent. So, then, maybe it isn't his skill so much as having other people around to lend a hand. Hmmm, kind of puts a crimp in the idea of his escape skills. Whatever, I don't think that's the point.

After an opening set piece showing off the team's ability to get Breslin out of prison, they are approached about a new job. He is wanted to test out a new design max security prison that is privately owned with plans to be used in the disappearing of worlds nastiest bad guys that no one wants around, officially. It is made clear that this is not your usual job and the guidelines real all the guidelines that he works under, but the payday looks good and he accepts.

Breslin is grabbed by unknowns in a black van and he wakes up in a clear cell in a prison designed unlike anything he has been in before. Still, he has some ideas and the overly friendly Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) is more than willing to help. This sets the stage for some sarcastic exchanges between the two aging stars.

As they jockey for escape position, we get some involvement from the cold, calculating Warden Hobbs (Jim Caviziel) who employs cold blooded methods and has his own plans and desires. We also get his bloodthirsty right hand man played by Vinnie Jones, ad is sadly underused. There is also the doctor played by Sam Neill who I felt had more plans that never came to fruition.

Well the end came around and we all should have seen it coming and I guess we are supposed to care, but I couldn't quite muster up the desire. It was all just so bland, like they really didn't try to be all that creative. The location does not seem to be used to its full effectiveness, probably could have played around some more before the reveal. The supporting cast could have been involved more and instead of the smirking at the camera bits we could ave looked more at the idea of privatization of part of the prison system and the effect it could have on the war on terror, forget Gitmo. It would have knee better than using the warden as a Macguffin. Plus the guards in the black masks, what was up with them? Another missed opportunity. I kept wondering what the motivation was as it felt like they were just there and not trying to be an actual character.

Escape Plan is a missed opportunity, what could have been a fun and involving romp ended up a pointless bore. It is not that I had high expectations, but there should have been a stronger sense of fun and story, these two have been involved in some of the biggest movies ever, hey should know better.

Not Recommended.

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