We Want Action: Escape Plan (2013)

escape plan poster[As you’ll be able to tell shortly, this was originally written back in March.] It’s kind of funny that I happened to watch Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone in Escape Plan the same weekend as the former’s Sabotage also debuted. I didn’t plan on being relatively timely, I just wanted to watch a movie with two of my favorite action stars. Sure, it would have been cool to see these guys team up on the big screen in the 80s, but I don’t know if that would have made for a better movie.

In Mikael Håfström’s Escape Plan, Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a guy who goes to jail in order to test the prison’s ability to keep criminals inside. He works with a team that includes Abigail (Amy Ryan), Hush (50 Cent) and his business partner Lester (Vincent D’Onofrio). Breslin gets hired to test a top secret prison that holds the worst of the worst. He agrees and wakes up inside the Tomb, a state of the art prison run by Hobbes (Jim Caviezel). It becomes clear to Breslin pretty quickly that he got tricked into going to this particular lock-up. He soon teams up with Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) to break out of the craziest prison around. 

I’m sure a lot of people aren’t interested in watching a couple of dudes in their late 60s play action roles and that’s fine. I’d be a little uncomfortable with it myself if it wasn’t these two guys. Much like Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand, this movie doesn’t pretend that these are two guys in their prime like some of the latter day Chuck Norris films did. Sure, there are a fair amount of fist fights and more running around than even I do on a normal basis, but the action itself didn’t seem forced upon characters or actors unable to handle it.

With echoes of  my beloved Prison Break and even that Gerard Butler movie Law Abiding Citizen, I had as much fun watching Escape Plan as I hoped I would. But, what really boosted this film in my mind was Caviezel’s portrayal of Hobbes. He really just goes for the craziness of it all and fully embraces it. He’s a ruthless man who wants to keep his ship sailing as smoothly as possible, so seeing that and him break down is a treat. You don’t get to see much of that these days because it can so easily veer into the kind over-the-top territory Stallone and Schwarzenegger movies of yore lived in, but Caviezel walks that line pretty damn well in my book. For what it’s worth, I also really enjoyed 50 Cent in what might be his most understated role to date (or at least in my experience).

At the end of the day, I don’t think Escape Plan is the kind of movie that will change anyone’s opinion of Stallone or Schwarzenegger like Cop Land did for the former back in the late 90s, but it is a fun, well put together action film that looks great and has a super-game cast that seemed to have fun with the material.

Stallone & Schwarzenegger Throw Down In Escape Plan

Director Mikael Håfström (1402, The Rite) has a pretty interesting project in Escape Plan. Not only does the film sport a fairly high concept — a prison designer gets locked up in a super-high-tech prison he designed — but it also stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. As you can see in the clip above, two of the most titanic presences in action history beat on each other at least once in the film. Collider posted that clip as well as the following images which mostly feature Stallone, with Schwarzenegger only in one. We threw in the film’s poster as well because we haven’t shown it off before yet.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Escape Plan follows Ray Breslin (Stallone) who is the world’s foremost authority on structural security. He’s analyzed every high security prison and has gained a vast array of survival skills. But all Ray’s ingenuity and knowledge are about to be put to work in the most challenging test he’s ever faced: escaping from the master prison of his own design.

Schwarzenegger, in the role of Church, plays a complex inmate with multiple shades of grey. He’s the guy who fights to keep the prisoners from losing their humanity in their darkest hour as they struggle together to stay alive.

Escape Plan bows on October 18th.

Quick Movie Review: Derailed (2005)

Derailed is one of the few movies I got from Netflix, but sent back without watching. I got it because, as many of you know, I’m a big Clive Owen fan and, well, that’s all I really knew about it aside from the fact that Jennifer Aniston is in it. Once I got it, though, I read the synopsis and found that it was about Owen’s character getting revenge after his mistress, Aniston, gets raped in a hotel room. Not wanting to watch something like that, I passed. But, it was on Bravo yesterday and I figured I’d give it a whirl. I missed the beginning, but here’s the basics. Owen’s married, misses his regular train and meets Aniston and they start an affair. Soon enough, a criminal (Vincent Cassel) breaks into their hotel room, attacks Owen and Aniston and leaves. Owen wants to call the cops, but Aniston says not to. Soon enough he’s being blackmailed by the attacker who’s showing up at his house and demanding all kinds of money. Things get worse from there as you might imagine.

I’m going to jump into SPOILER territory here, because I found the twist to be very interesting. It turns out that Aniston is actually in on the con with Cassell and Xzibit. I definitely didn’t see that one coming. After that, Owen’s life falls apart as his wife finds out and his job finds out he was stealing from them to pay the blackmailer. He then sets up a sting of his own and attacks Cassell, Aniston and Xzibit. There’s yet another twist at the end that seems sloppy at first, but then works out, but didn’t really surprise.

All in all, it was an alright movie, but lacked the action I want from a Clive Owen movie. I’m also pretty sick of movies in which I’m yelling at the main character for not just going to the cops and getting things figured out at a logical time. Hey, these things always blow up in your face, have you never seen one of these movies? Your wife’s gonna find out and blackmailers almost never stop, so just tell the truth. Ah well, it kept me busy while working yesterday, but I’d much rather watch him in something like Sin City.