Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Escape Plan - The Review

I had no burning desire to see Escape Plan, the new action thriller starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

However, when it's your day off and it looks like the best thing on offer at your local multiplex, it may as well be worth a look.

The fact I read the timing wrong, and thought it was supposed to start half an hour before it did, made me think I'll watch something else instead.
However, the rather enthusiastic, animated Cineworld employee was so enthusiastic about the movie, I thought I'll hang around for half an hour and give it the benefit of the doubt.
I'm glad I did.

In the first 20 minutes, we are asked to believe that Sly is an expert on prison security.
He tests the integrity of prisons by becoming an inmate and then attempts to break out, thereby exposing any weakness in the security.

More often than not he succeeds, and gets a big fat pay cheque.
However, when he is asked to test out a new maximum security stockade, Sly can't resist, and soon regrets it.

The tracker planted inside him is soon removed, and Sly loses contact with his colleagues in the outside world.
(Let's face it, it wouldn't be much of a movie if he managed to break out in the next 10 minutes).

Sly soon incurs wrath of psycho prison warden (there is always one) Jim Caviezel and his right-hand man/henchman Vinnie Jones.
(I fear we'll have a long wait to see Vinnie play Hamlet, but when it comes to playing psycho thugs, Jones is in a league of his own).

While making assorted enemies on the inside, Sly befriends unhinged Austrian Arnie. 
Schwarzenegger has a ball with this movie. Whether ranting in his native language, or coming out with some salty, over the top one-liners, he is clearly better as a supporting actor these days than carrying his own film. Maybe he should keep the goatee, as it's a fine facial addition to the Austrian Oak.

For the first two thirds, Escape Plan is great fun. The one thing that's missing is the generic shoot out we have come to expect from two of the biggest stars of 80s action cinema.

In fact, the lack of gunfire is rather welcome.

So by the time the third act kicks in, the director resorts to type by giving Sly and Arnie high powered weapons, and resorting to the usual cliches of shootouts, gunfire and witty epithets when villains are dispatched.

Escape Plan, previously named The Tomb, might not be the sort of film you're desperate to rush out and see on day one. However, when it’s released on Blu-ray chances are it will shift truckloads of units.

(The fact I have been quoting one of Arnie's one-liners all week, is testament to the fact it's great fun).

The leads won't win any Oscars for Best Actors, and the script won't win Best Screenplay, but who cares?
For those of us weaned on First Blood and The Terminator, this is a must see, whether on the biggest screen possible, or on your TV in a a few weeks’ time.

Let’s hope the pumped up pensioners return soon, maybe in a comedy remake of The Sunshine Boys or Grumpy Old Men. 
Pension Plan wouldn't be too bad a title.

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