escape planReleased: 2013

Genre: Action

Directed by: Mikael Håfström

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, 50 Cent, Sam Neill, Vinnie Jones

Since the success of The Expendables, old Sly Stallone has been on something of a renaissance, and with the tower of power that is Arnie now out of the Californian Governor’s office, the scene is set for another mindless action movie with lots of guns, lots of fights, and lots of woeful one-liners.

Reminiscent of their classic ‘80s action movies, Stallone and Schwarzenegger really do bounce off each well in their latest tough-nut outing. Escape Plan sees professional jail break Breslin (Stallone) having to bust his way out of a brand new facility which is both off the grid, and extremely difficult to escape from. Enter Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), one of the bigger inmates of the highest security prison in existence who also happens to be the ‘favour man’, and together the duo start hatching a plan to get out of jail.

The prison break format isn’t exactly new, but with this film the intricacies of story are not really what the audience are in it for. There are some novel ideas such as the torturous ‘box’ which sees troublesome inmates subjected to bright lights and severe dehydration and the glass prison cells where the idea of privacy is nothing but a distant dream.

Too many action films in recent years employ the Michael Bay school of film-making where gargantuan amounts of poorly created CGI explosions are interspersed with a live actor’s performance to create a jarringly disconnecting display of over-indulgence. Thankfully Håfström has steered away from this, and with the two lead characters, the director has a wealth of talent who are willing to engage with some heavy stunts and keep the CGI to a minimum.

There are plenty of quotable puns and nonsense remarks such as the immortal ‘you hit like a vegetarian’ from Arnie and gloriously over the top moments, reaching its pinnacle with Arnie ripping a sub machine gun off a helicopter before proceeding to obliterate the swathes of sub-par prison officers fighting back.

Perhaps Escape Plan’s greatest achievement however, is making a film that is reminiscent of the classic action films that made Stallone’s and Schwarzenegger’s careers. Imagine Under Siege meets Con Air with an Ocean’s Eleven style plan and what you have is the bones of this movie.

Fans of classic action movies or the likes of The Expendables and The Rock will lap this film up. It’s best to go in suspending your disbelief at several moments (apparently the previous job of Stallone’s character Breslin was a lawyer, it’s best to just let it go!) but for those looking for a fun, action-packed film which doesn’t detract from quality in favour of the spectacle, look no further than Escape Plan, possibly the best action movie you will see this year.

★★★★

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