‘Ahnold’ and Sly in top form!
Thanks to Hopscotch Films, we had the chance to see ‘Escape Plan’ before its national Australian cinematic DVD release. ‘Escape Plan’ finally gives action fans what they so long have been waiting for: a Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger team up. Of course these action legends already shared screen-time in both Expendables-movie, but in ‘Escape Plan’ it is really all about Ahnold and Sly.
Stallone plays Ray Breslin, an expert in testing prison security systems. His job consists of getting locked up and then trying to break out, thereby exposing the prison’s flaws. He always doubles as an actual prisoner, and usually has a contact in the prison’s management who knows what he’s doing. But just when Breslin is about to test the most secure prison he’s ever been in, his mission turns pear-shaped; his contact on the inside has been killed en route to the prison and Breslin now has to face a sadistic prison warden (Jim Caviezel) who personally wants to see to it that Breslin, locked up under the alias of Latino terrorist Portos, will never get out.
Inside the prison, Breslin/Portos makes friends with the charismatic Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), who used to work for an enigmatic cyberterrorist Victor Mannheim. Together they make a deal to try and break out of jail. But can they trust each other??
With Stallone and Schwarzenegger together at last, many fans obviously expect a massive slug fest full of fights, blood and explosions. Except for the last half hour,‘Escape Plan’ is not such a film. For most of its duration this is a classic jailbreak-thriller. There are some highly implausible plot twists half way through that make the story a bit confusing though, yet that doesn’t really matter; this old-fashioned action-thriller doesn’t pretend to be the new ‘Usual Suspects’ or anything like that, it knows what it is and it’s pretty damn good at that. That said, a slightly better director could have made this a classic; it’s a shame that John McTiernan is still in jail, since the man behind ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Predator’ would have been a perfect fit here.
Although Stallone plays the main character, it is Schwarzenegger who steals the show here. The Austrian Oak is obviously having a great time and he is enthusiastically overacting the whole way through. We even get to hear him speak his native German language in a movie for the first time. The Governator is obviously happy to be back on the big screen – or in Australia’s case the small screen- after eight years of governing the fifth economy of the world, and this joyful return shows that Schwarzenegger has not run out of steam yet. This is very promising for his upcoming flick ‘Sabotage’, as well as the rumoured ‘King Conan’. “Ahnold” hasn’t been this much fun to watch since ‘True Lies’, which is already twenty years old.
For inexplicable reasons this terrific action thriller is going straight to DVD in Australia. It might have something to do with the fact that ‘Escape Plan’ didn’t do well at the US Box Office. That in turn might actually have been caused by the disappointing quality of previous movies both lead actors starred in; Schwarzenegger‘s comeback movie ‘The Last Stand’ was rather ho-hum, while Stallone‘s latest ‘Bullet to the Head’ was a downright disappointment. ‘Escape Plan’ however is a great film that will not disappoint. This is a must see for all action fans!
‘Escape Plan’ – Available on DVD and Blu-Ray 19 February 2014