Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Writers: Miles Chapman and Arnell Jesko
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Faran Tahir, Sam Neill, Amy Ryan
Running Length: 116 minutes
Synopsis: One of the world’s foremost authorities on structural security agrees to take on one last job: breaking out of an ultra-secret, high-tech facility called “The Tomb.” Deceived and wrongly imprisoned, Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) must recruit fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to help devise a daring, nearly impossible plan to escape from the most protected and fortified prison ever built.
Review: This is the first real lead pairing of 80s action stalwarts Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and while it’s not entirely a case of too little too late, Escape Plan will likely appeal more to moviegoers who are familiar with the duo’s bodies of work (pun unintended) in the 80s and early 90s. Despite featuring two lead actors that are over 65 years old and a ridiculous, hole-ridden storyline, Escape Plan still manages to entertain, although some serious editing should have been made to the almost 2-hour running time.
There’s almost no real plot and character development in Escape Plan, so essentially all one needs to know is that both Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s characters have been wrongly imprisoned and need to stage a prison break. The only twist in this tale is that Breslin is an expert in breaking out of prisons, and even this “escape-proof” prison will fall to his machinations. Yet, it takes almost a full half hour to lay the groundwork for Breslin, before the audience is introduced to Rottmayer, and the film rambles aimlessly along for almost another half hour before things truly kick into gear. For throwaway entertainment like this, that’s one hour too long to wait.
Escape Plan does not have a strong storyline at all, and its contrivances can almost be too ridiculous to overlook. However, the lead actors are very likeable, and display enough chemistry to make this pseudo buddy movie work. The only thing that gets in the way is that both Stallone and Schwarzenegger are obviously geriatric (I say this with a lot of love and respect for both actors), and it seems that director Mikael Hafstrom is actively trying to let the audience think that they are still in their 40s. It doesn’t work, and frankly, tests the audience’s ability to suspend disbelief to near-breaking point. Implausibility aside, this is definitely a movie that will be found in the “Guilty Pleasures” category, and is entertaining enough (just barely) to make it worth the price of admission.
Rating: * * ½ (out of four stars)