Synopsis: When a structural-security authority finds himself set up and incarcerated in the world’s most secret and secure prison, he has to use his skills to escape with help from the inside.
The 80s and 90s were the times of the action heroes. With the latest sequels to films like Rambo and the ongoing production of The Expendables films, Sylvester Stallone has focused on the nostalgia many share for these lost action heroes and show that they can still hold their own, despite their age. Escape Plan unites two of the biggest action stars (Stallone & Schwarzenegger) in a film that is filled with loads of action, cheesy quips, and many reminiscent moments of the 80s and 90s.
Much like The Expendables this film focuses on the feel of an era rather than perfecting elements of the film. If you are a fan of the 80s/90s action star then you will be able to appreciate this film for its nostalgia rather than what it’s lacking as a film. I was a huge fan of Stallone and especially Arnold growing up and while they have aged they both manage to live up to the reputation that they have built for themselves. Stallone plays a more calculated hero, much like in The Specialist, while Arnold goes full on “AHNOLD” with a plethora of “Arnoldisms” throughout the film.
The concept of the plot is intriguing but not nearly as complex as some other films that are fueled by a similar overly elaborate plan to do the impossible. Escape Plan explains the plot in its title as Ray Breslin (Stallone) attempts to escape the most “unescapable” prison. While the prison seems to live up to its claims, this film simplifies the means of escape making Breslin’s methods of escape more unbelievable. Many of the moments throughout the film can be seen as being cliche to the action genre, especially in regards to the time period that is being portrayed. The build up to the final battle, the surprising (yet incredibly predictable) revelations throughout the film, and character stereotypes are all apart of the standardized formula for this type of film. Some may disregard this predictability as a side effect of the genre, while others could discredit the entire film due to its simplicity.
Stallone may be the star of the film but it is Schwarzenegger that made the film “horribly good.” There were many Arnold moments in the film that stimulated my inner child as I saw him become the powerhouse we all know as he single-handedly took down waves of enemies. It was exciting for me to see the Stallone/Schwarzenegger duo have a much larger part than they had in The Expendables films. Their on screen relationship was a smooth collaboration with an added tension caused by their subtle competition of who is the bigger action star. Their dialogue between one another was lightly humorous and added to their effectiveness as an on-screen duo. While they worked well together as a team, their individual back-stories are simple and (once again) stereotypical for action stars. They’re both depicted as badass brawlers with big hearts due to family ties. The family tie in to the plot is the motive and drive for both the characters to continue their mission.
Overall the film is a fun ride. It’s not a film that you must see on the big screen, but it is some mindless fun for the average action film aficionado. If you are not a fan of the genre and someone who typically dissects every element of a film then this may be a pass for you. Every element of this film is simple but it’s one of those films that may turn into a guilty pleasure. I enjoyed the film because of my own sentiments, but the experience would most likely vary for someone who isn’t as nostalgic.
Escape Plan – 6 out of 10
A simple film full of mindless fun…