Review: Escape Plan / Cert: 15 / Director: Mikael Hafstrom / Screenplay: Miles Chapman, Jason Keller / Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 50 Cent / Release Date: March 17th
Sylvester Stallone lends Arnold Schwarzenegger his crap Expendables beard for Escape Plan, a hi-tech sci-fi action thriller that dumps the both of them in prison and lets their machismo do the rest of the work.
Escape Plan finally gives action movie fans the team-up they wanted, with Arnie and Stallone getting to spend plenty of time together in the close proximity that governor Jim Caviezel’s futuristic prison dictates. “You hit like a vegetarian,” Arnie sneers, in the film’s best line. But there’s more to Escape Plan than punching. The geriatric action heroes team up to escape the inescapable, hindered by governor Caviezel and his chief warden Vinnie Jones. Handy that Stallone specialises in breaking out of prisons and that between them, he and Schwarzenegger look as though they could beat the pulp out of Vinnie Jones without breaking a sweat. They certainly act the ex-footballer off the screen, with Arnie impressing in a role that finally gets him to use some of his native German. Caviezel and Sam Neill are there to provide the (slightly) more nuanced acting, while 50 Cent is categorically awful as computer wiz (!) Hush. We wish he would. Between Fiddy and Jones, Sly and Arnie are left looking like a pair of seasoned thespians.
It would have been nice to see a bigger beatdown between Stallone and the Governator – the extent of their much-publicised punch up is there in the trailer – but Escape Plan provides plenty of entertainment elsewhere. It’s a solid, thoroughly enjoyable thriller that gives its stars plenty to do; a fun throwback with decent action, well-employed twists and good performances from everyone who isn’t Vinnie Jones or 50 Cent. Even better, Ahnuld doesn’t inform anyone of his comings or goings so much as once. There’s even a chopper which he (barely) manages to resist the urge to tell Sly to get to. “Have a lovely day… asshole” may not be up there with his best quips, but it brought a smile to this action fan’s face. Old-fashioned without getting too bogged down in fan-pleasing references or lines from other movies, it’s one of the old guard’s better revival movies.
Fun, funny and entertainingly trashy, Escape Plan is an excellent bit of old-school escapism.