Escape Plan is the latest attempt at Hollywood trying to recapture that 80’s magic that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were so good at delivering. Unlike The Last Stand and Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan is a slow-moving disappointment that does absolutely nothing with its stars or the material. Director Mikael Håfström effectively makes something that should have gone straight-to-video without a doubt. Escape Plan is a choppy experience that moves sluggish, yet ends in a hurry.
Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) is the world’s best when it comes to testing security systems. He’s broken out of just about any maximum security prison that you can think of. He even wrote a book on it, quite literally and now he must face the single most advanced system in the world.
He sets up the scenario like usual, but soon realizes that this isn’t just another job. He’s now locked in and must find a way out and hopefully find out who set him up.
Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is the inside man that offers Breslin help, in exchange for a way out. The two must work together in order to escape before either of them get killed by one of the various inmates or corrupt guards.
Escape Plan sounds exactly like something you would have lined up for in advance to see back in the 80’s. Schwarzenegger and Stallone have been having some troubles finding their on-screen footings these days, not because of their quality performances, but because most audiences are getting sick of their old-school ways.
I personally enjoyed Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand, while I found both Expendables films to be complete and utter garbage.
Escape Plan plays out more like an Expendables film than the other two, because it never does anything with itself to warrant a viewing outside of just looking for nostalgic moments. Director Mikael Håfström has done good work making atmospheric horror films and yet with Escape Plan he simply makes a cheap, dumb and slightly sluggish action picture that looks like it was lifted from another age.
Part of that is a compliment, because Håfström’s ability to keep things simple and mostly focused on Stallone and Schwarzenegger makes for more than one memorable moment or sequence, but part of that is a major misstep, because Escape Plan rarely becomes something that’s worth sitting down and watching.
Most of the plot feels recycled and weightless, while the dialogue proves to be the film’s strongest aspect. But even then, Stallone’s turning in a performance that almost feels like a forced smile, while Schwarzenegger is clearly having a lot of fun stretching his acting muscles yet again.
There’s also not much action in the film, which is a distraction when you’re watching a film with Stallone and Schwarzenegger as the highest billed stars. This isn’t a trademark Stallone or Schwarzenegger film. This is a film that both probably thought sounded like a fun project to tackle, but not necessarily a challenging one.
And that’s okay, because Escape Plan isn’t the worst film on the block. It’s just not all that exciting or refreshing. It has momentum problems early on, but ends in a hurry.
I’d still say support Escape Plan, because of what Stallone and Schwarzenegger are trying to do. These guys are keeping R-rated action films alive and sometimes they drop a dud on us like Escape Plan, while other times they deliver in spades like The Last Stand or Bullet to the Head.
Escape Plan – 7/10