Thursday, 24 October 2013

Escape Plan

Smell the Movies
Smell the TV


Country of origin:USA
Director:Mikael Håfström
Genre:Prison escape action thriller
Starring:Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Vinnie Jones
IMDB link:

Tagline:No one breaks out alone
Favourite line:"If I don't get out, I will kill you."

Remember when Michael Mann promised to bring De Niro and Pacino together for the first time in Heat?
Pah! That was nothing.

The plot:
Ray Breslin (Stallone) wrote a book about maximum security prisons. In it, he detailed ways in which to override the security precautions employed, to allow a prisoner to escape. He's no bad guy, though, tasked as he is as a 'mystery shopper' so to speak, becoming deliberately interned, just so that he can bust the hell out of a prison, thus demonstrating the security flaws.
Signed up for a new job, little does he know that, this time, his skills will be used against him.
The con?
The prison he is locked up in has been designed by a keen student of his works.
So, how does a man escape from a prison, deemed inescapable by his very own writings?
With Arnie's help, of course!

As premises go, this is pretty route one: A man who can escape from any facility is locked away in a prison no one has ever escaped from. Route one, sure, but tantalising, none the less, all the more so for the presence of Sly and Arnhult, properly on screen together for the very first time. Yeah, I know they were both in The Expendables films, but they don't really count, as they barely shared any screen time.
Luckily, here, the two behemoths of 80's action cinema are joined at the hip for the vast majority of the film's run time, featuring both of their pumped up torsos, on top of which perch head-shaped masses, whose lips open and close, allowing air to pass over their vocal chords so that words come out.
Manly words.
Bantering words.
Words that indicate that these guys mean business.
With a reductive plot such as this, the film lives and dies by the charisma of the lead players and, luckily, both are on good form, Arnhult in particular, who really seems to be trying hard now that he has turned his back on the world of politics, and returned to the world which he knows and does best - beating the shit out of meatheads like Vinnie Jones.
Throughout, it's hard to dispel the notion that this is just a rehash of Christoff Lambert's Fortress, but that's no bad thing and, in truth, it is, just with a bigger budget, less sci-fi, and absolutely no gore.
Originally called The Tomb, presumably this was changed to make it easier for the deluded masses to understand what the film is about - is like, vese too guys, vey've go' vis plan to escaype and vey, yer no.....escaype - this is a genuine delight for those who yearn for the halcyon days when a singular plot thread and loads of red meat on show passed for an action movie.
Look, you can take your Paul Greengrasses and your Bourne's and your Casino Royale's and stick 'em where the sun don't shine.
The old boys are back, showing the young upstarts how it's done, and thank the steroids for that.

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