Escape Plan: What You Need To Know
Who’s in it?
This prison-break action thriller, the latest outing from Swedish director Mikael Håfström (Evil, Kopps), stars none other than veteran action duo Sylvester Stallone and Arnold ‘The Governator’ Schwarzenegger. It’s the third time the pair has appeared on the big screen together following The Expendables and The Expendables 2, appearing to confirm that decades of mutual hatred for each other have finally melted away to be replaced by Hollywood’s most unlikely bromance.
The film also co-stars Jim Caviezel and Sam Neill, with further appearances from rapper Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson and ex-Wimbledon hardman turned CPR expert Vinnie Jones.
What’s the plot?
Stallone plays Ray Breslin, the world’s foremost expert in structural security. Having spent his life designing and testing high-security prisons, Breslin is drafted in by a shadowy organisation to test an off-grid, private prison known as ‘The Tomb’. He is to be incarcerated in the prison with a mandate to try and escape, thereby proving for the benefit of the organisation’s mysterious client whether or not the prison truly is escape-proof.
However, the assignment doesn’t exactly proceed as Breslin had imagined. After being stunned with a cattle prod and bundled into a van, he awakes to find himself inside the prison, and to make matters worse the wardens running the place claim to have no knowledge of his ‘mission’ to test the prison’s capabilities, treating him just like one of the countless other inmates locked up within its walls indefinitely.
Realising he has been set up, he resolves to escape anyway, find out who wanted to frame him and why. To do this he enlists the help of Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), prison-daddy-in-residence and all-round hardcase, who is just as determined to escape incarceration and sees Breslin as his only chance. Cue the explosions…
Does it deliver?
As you would imagine, Escape Plan is the kind of high-octane, testosterone-fuelled action flick that Stallone and Schwarzenegger have been specialising in for most of their careers and if that’s your kind of thing, you’ll probably find that this film is right up your alley.
The plot does take a bit of following at times, with most of the occasionally confusing moments stemming from the fact that the villains are revealed gradually on a names-but-no-faces basis, which can leave the viewer wondering ‘who’s that again?’ from time to time.
That aside, while the plot won’t win any awards for originality the film is an enjoyable watch: the action scenes are big and bombastic, the jokes tread that familiar line between funny and cheesy, the performances are believable and there is an undercurrent of dissent against the idea of private corporations running prisons, but this clearly isn’t designed to be a political commentary and as a film where the main aim is ‘stuff getting blown up’, it succeeds admirably. Big and dumb? Yes. Worth a look? Absolutely.