What’s It About? Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) is one of the world’s leading authorities on structural security; he’s regularly assigned to test prisons to see if they’re escape proof. However, he’s framed and sent to a master prison which he had designed and is run by a brutal prison warden who doesn’t care for any of his inmates. Breslin teams up with fellow detainee Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to formulate an escape plan from the world’s toughest penitentiary.
Verdict: The old men of action films have finally teamed up for an entire film, and whilst they (along with a few others) may have blazed a trail for action films in the 80s they have since been usurped by more dynamic presences such as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Jason Statham. That’s not to say Sly and Arnie don’t have anything to offer anymore because judging by this film they still have plenty of energy in their large muscles. Stallone manages to punch his way through most of the secondary cast with enough vigour to recall his Rambo days, but reins it back in during the more dialogue-heavy scenes. It feels like Sly has finally developed into an actor that can take on a dramatic talking role without the need for violence. Whilst it might seem like Stallone is the main headline, the film belongs to Schwarzenegger. It’s a return to form for Arnie, especially when he finally gets to unleash hell on the bad guys. He looks the best he has for years and gives his best performance since Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The Austrian Oak flirts between serious and comedic with perfect ease, making the film sizzle as an all-round enjoyable romp with two old friends.
The story itself is eerily reminiscent of Stallone’s 1989 film Lock Up, where a man who is wrongfully imprisoned will do anything to get out. However, he’s held back by a snivelling, heartless warden prepared to break the inmates down and never build them back up. The film has decent pacing throughout and some really good fist-on-fist action we haven’t seen for a few years. The external story which revolves around Breslin is very wishy-washy and not very interesting, but can be overlooked.
Final Words: Twenty years ago Escape Plan would have been the biggest film released with these two lead actors. Time has moved on but Sly and Arnie still pack a huge punch. An blast of good old-fashioned hard-boiled action with flashes of comedy from both leads and some excellent set-piece fistie-cuffs.
Escape Plan is released in UK cinemas on 18 October 2013.