Escape Plan is a fun throwback to the 80s and 90s action genre culminated with starring the two biggest actors of that era. Although neither one of them are at the top of their game, this is still an enjoyable flick well worth at least one viewing if only to see Stallone and Schwarzenegger fight.
Genre(s): Action, Thriller
Summit Entertainment | R – 115 min. – $39.99 | February 4, 2014
Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom
Writer(s): Miles Chapman (story), Miles Chapman and Arnell Jesko (screenplay)
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Faran Tahir, Amy Ryan, Sam Neill, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, Curtis Jackson
Theatrical Release Date: October 18, 2013
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, DVD Copy, Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 45.8 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
The 1980s and 1990s have made a comeback of late with numerous remakes (see the upcoming RoboCop) and throwbacks (White House Down for instance). The latest is Escape Plan starring two aging action heroes with a script that is wildly simplistic and plenty of dumb moments and yet it’s entertaining as all hell.
The plot, as I said, is relatively simple: Breslin (SYLVESTER STALLONE) has the unique job of spending time in prison in order to find the system’s weaknesses, break out and present a report following up to fix the problems. He, along with his team which consists of computer specialist Hush (CURTIS JACKSON), right-hand woman Abigail (AMY RYAN) and handler/manager Lester Clark (VINCENT D’ONOFRIO), makes a lot of money doing so, though this also involves spending time in jail.
After this opening sequence showing what he does and how he does it, Breslin receives a lucrative but off-the-books offer from the CIA to enter a secret, privately run, facility housing the worst of the worst in the world. Despite the team not knowing where he is, Breslin accepts the job as it presents a difficult challenge, though he will regret the decision. First, as planned, he is picked up off the street but his captors are one step ahead removing an injected tracker. Breslin is then drugged and awakens on a plane, witnessing the death of another inmate at the hands of a tough man named Drake (VINNIE JONES).
Breslin is knocked out once more and wakes up inside a high-tech prison facility, known as “The Tomb” (which was this film’s original title) where the cells are clear all around and are stacked on one another in different blocks. It’s seemingly unbreakable as Breslin attempts to assess his situation, though it becomes worse during his integration process as he meets the Tomb’s sadistic warden named Hobbes (JIM CAVIEZEL). Breslin tries to tell him the code given to him for his release, but Hobbes has no clue what he’s talking about, leaving Breslin in a more than precarious position.
In the meantime, Breslin is introduced to others in the prison population including muscle man Rottmayer (ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER) though their initial meeting is at best icy with Breslin only concerned with finding an escape from the hell hole. However, eventually he accepts Rottmayer’s help with some staged fights that lands the two in the box, a metal container where super hot lamps cook the occupant. After this, Breslin meets a possibly sympathetic soul in Dr. Kyrie (SAM NEILL) who is in charge of keeping inmates healthy and especially, alive.
Not to give too much away, though the trailers revealed most of this, Breslin and Rottmayer eventually team up to try and find flaws in the system where the pair can escape with Breslin vowing to take the Tomb down with him if necessary. Oh, and Abigail and Hush? Well, save for a scene in the middle inquiring where Breslin is, the two disappear until the very end and have very little to do, which is a real waste of talent for an actress like Amy Ryan.
The existence and publicity (limited or otherwise) for Escape Plan was to finally see two action icons from the 80s and 90s finally paired up beyond a few scenes from the two Expendables movies. And really, seeing Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger (henceforth noted as “S/S”) fighting side-by-side, and in a few instances against one another, it was kind of cool. For their parts, the two works well off each other but at the same time, one shouldn’t go into this movie looking for tremendous dramatic acting not only from S/S but the supporting players as well.
Speaking of which, there’s nothing noteworthy about any of the supporting characters. Caviezel is limited just playing a big douchebag though he has some solid scenes with S/S and his final shot is priceless and admittedly unique. I already touched base on Amy Ryan and 50 Cent, neither one of them get a whole lot to do, though with 50, that might’ve been a good thing and for his part, Vincent D’Onofrio is woefully underutilized. Same goes for Vinnie Jones who obviously was doing Stallone as favor as he merely plays a thug who could’ve remained nameless or the generic Right Hand Thug.
Helmed by Mikael Håfström (1408, The Rite) and written by Miles Chapman (Road House 2) and Jason Keller (Machine Gun Preacher, Mirror Mirror), Escape Plan isn’t a complicated movie or unique in any shape or form, but it is a cool and fun throwback to the 80s and 90s seeing the two icons fighting side-by-side for an entire feature film. Although this is hardly memorable for either Stallone or Schwarzenegger, it’s still well worth renting as it is a fun ride.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5
This release comes with a glossy, slightly title-embossed, slip cover. Inside contains a movie-only DVD Copy and a Digital Copy download code for either the UltraViolet or iTunes.
Audio Commentary – Director Mikael Hafstrom and Co-Writer Miles Chapman open up about the movie giving insight into how the movie was made and some other behind-the-scenes tidbits. It’s not the most enthralling track or anything but the pair fill the time pretty well.
Executing the Plan: The Making of Escape Plan (22:13; HD) – This featurette takes viewers behind-the-scenes with on-set interviews with the cast (including Stallone, Schwarzenegger) and crew talking about the origins and how it finally made it to the big screen.
Maximum Security: The Real Life Tomb (21:57; HD) looks at the real maximum security prisons, the history behind them, and the dangerous individuals who inhabit them. This doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the movie outside of experts in prisons critique the security shown.
Clash of the Titans (15:34; HD) is about the long-awaited pairing, in major roles at least, of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Deleted Scenes (8:13; HD) – 11 scenes that didn’t make it into the final cut, or were trimmed, are included here. There’s nothing here that was exceptional – and a few that were downright pointless – but fascinating to watch.
Previews – Divergent, The Expendables 2, The Last Stand, Dredd
VIDEO – 4.75/5
Escape Plan makes its getaway onto Blu-ray presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). Not overly surprising, the picture here looks nearly brilliant with excellent detail levels, nice lighting and well balanced colors and no signs of artifacts or pixilation.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
God bless Summit/Lionsgate, the majority of their releases come with a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track which utilizes each element from the low-key dialogue through the center speaker to the action-heavy scenes, such as the explosion early on, which envelops the front and rear channels with excellent depth. This might not be reference quality compared with others I have in my collection (The Incredible Hulk still holds the title), but this is a track that is impressive.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, Escape Plan is a fun throwback to the 80s and 90s action genre culminated with starring the two biggest actors of that era. Although neither one of them are at the top of their game, this is still an enjoyable flick well worth at least one viewing if only to see Stallone and Schwarzenegger fight. The Blu-ray does offer up excellent audio/video transfers while the features, albeit fluffy, is plentiful.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.