Certificate 15, 116 minutes
Director: Mikael Håfström
Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 50 Cent
At the beginning of Escape Plan Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) is imprisoned in Bendwater Federal Penitentiary in Colorado. After a fight in the prison yard of the facility, he is sent to the Secure Housing Unit, or solitary confinement. This is not a problem for him, as he quickly escapes both from solitary confinement and then the prison itself.
This is because Breslin is a professional at escaping from prison. Not because he is a criminal, but because he is an expert on institutional security. He has written the book on it - literally, the book is called "Compromising Correctional Institutional Security." His company, Breslin Clark, in which he is a partner, is hired by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to find weaknesses in their maximum security holding facilities. Ray can see the weaknesses in any system, and has a mind good at solving puzzles. He is provided assistance by his partner in the firm, Lester Clark (Vincent D'Onofrio, Jurassic World, Run All Night), Abigail Ross (Amy Ryan, Central Intelligence) and techno-thug Hush (50 Cent).
Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Escapeplanfilmposter.jpgA lawyer for the Central Intelligence Agency, Jessica Miller (Caitriona Balfe), wants to hire Ray's firm for an unusual job. So unusual that the CIA are willing to pay double his firm's normal fee. Since the practice of extraordinary rendition - which was the process of abducting and transference of suspects to foreign countries to be held or interrogated - was ceased, the CIA has had a problem with what to do with the sort of people they would rather disappear off the grid. Consequently, they have set up a pilot prison, called "The Tomb," which is run by a commercial enterprise to hold these individuals. Before the plan goes into full operation, they want to ensure that the prison actually is escape proof, and want to hire Ray to test it.
Shortly after Breslin is taken to the prison, by the thuggish Drake (Vinnie Jones), he discovers that things are not as expected. The prison warden is actually someone called Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) and not the man Ray was expecting to be in charge. As a result, his get out of jail free plan does not work. The prison is a comprised of glass walled and floored cells, as well as break and dining areas. The guards are heavily armed and wear all black uniforms covering every inch of them, with protection in certain critical places, as well as a mask that hides their faces. The prisoners are under surveillance all the time, and are treated brutishly by the guards should they do anything to annoy them.
It appears that Ray has been set up and, instead of testing the prison to see if it is escape proof, it seems that someone wants him to stay there permanently. He has never had his skills tested to this limit before. Shortly after entering, he meets fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sabotage, The Expendables 3) and the two start planning to escape from the Tomb.
This is the first real film to have two of the biggest action stars from the 80s and 90s properly appearing with each other. Although both were in The Expendables 2, that film was definitely skewed towards Stallone and, even though Stallone also has the bigger part in this film, Arnie's part is much bigger, as it is mostly about the two of them with a lot less co-stars taking some of the limelight. Both are effective in their roles, with a lot of, often intelligent, dialogue along with their more typical action man portrayals. "You don't look that smart" says Rottmayer, "Neither do you" replies Breslin.
There is a classic Schwarzenegger machine gun scene, of a type familiar to those who have seen many of his old films (Commando for instance is a good example). The prison guards are pretty standard minions, who appear to have graduated from the Imperial Stromtrooper Marksmanship Academy, with the exception of Drake as the main bad guy fighter; Vinnie Jones doing one of his standard thugs. Caviezel's portrayal of the rather creepy Warden Hobbes with his overly fastidious mannerisms is pretty good; outside the two main stars, Drake and Hobbes are the two most important characters, and they both do good, if rather different, bad guy roles, one being highly intelligent and mostly hands off, whilst the other less intelligent but more hands on. Stallone and Schwarzenegger's characters interact well with each other; if they hadn't, this film would have fallen pretty flat. The rest of Breslin's team is mostly seen in interludes as they try and find where he has disappeared to. Escape Plan is a good action film, with surprisingly little bloodshed in it and a couple of nice plot twists, which finally and properly brings these two action legends together.
Certificate 15, 116 minutes