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Reviewed: Escape Plan (DVD)...

Written by (Editor) on 16th March 2014

It's a team-up several decades in the making. But does 'Escape Plan', out now on DVD, provide all the action needed for the cell-mates to triumph? 

Escape Plan DVDSince a personal tragedy changed his life forever, Ray Bresling (Sylvester Stallone) has applied his time and deductive talents to finding the weak-points of the most secure prisons. Over the years there’s hardly been a penal facility built that he hasn’t been paid to test from the inside out.  Masquerading as a new inmate, almost every time he’s managed to get over, under of through the walls, floors or ceilings of the supposedly impenetrable jails.

However when Breslin is offered his biggest ever payday to test a new facility, even the suspect motivations of his CIA customer can’t put him off the ultimate challenge – trying to escape a prototype jail that has started to house the world’s most dangerous felons and terrorists.    

However, from the first moments of his ‘collection’ it begins to transpire something has gone very wrong. The facility is like none Breslin has ever seen before and  Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) the warden claims to have no knowledge of the undercover mission. In fact, he has another agenda entirely.

It appears Ray has been set-up and there seems to be only one of two ways out: find out the identity and location of a maverick hacker and activist for whom another inmate, Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) works, or enlist Rottmayer in finding out the facility’s weaknesses to escape.

But before either of those plans can be put into play, Breslin has to find out where this latest self-contained prison in which he’s trapped is located – and that may be the biggest problem of all to overcome.

Many years ago, the Holy Grail of the average action fan was to see their top icons in the same movie. Oh, sure, one of the handful of ballistic behemoths would go up against another top actor playing the bad guy (often British), but what was yearned for was a teaming of the greats. Stallone. Schwarzenegger. Perhaps Bruce Willis. Maybe Jean-Claude Van Damme. Steven Seagal if you really, really must.

With the exception of a zippy one-liner or visual in-joke, fans would have to wait until The Expendables to get that degree of testosterone fix, but with the third chapter of that franchise arriving in cinemas later this year, it seems that action cinema is making up for lost time with other projects and team-ups.

In many ways, Escape Plan feels like a project that was written in the 1980s and which has simply sat there waiting for its opportunity to finally snare the Stallone-Schwarzenegger pairing.  

That’s not to say it’s not a fun romp, competently directed by Mikael Håfström (1408). The older and more weathered actors probably suit their parts better now than they would have done several decades ago… and their mere involvement raises the interest factor by several more notches than the presence of a raft of second-string actors who  might arguably have been cast in their stead. The special effects, design and choreography is solid and if there's a feeling of going-through-the-motions, then they're enjoyably slick to behold. 

If the admittedly rather simplistic story doesn’t bear up to a lot of logic or scrutiny, it has enough of a high-concept  and star-wattage to provide the necessary temporary suspension of disbelief.  Jim Caviezel (currently the stoic star of tv’s Person of Interest) is the nefarious bad-guy with a license to be evil for no more reason than the script says so. It’s not a real spoiler to note that his fate is sealed from the very first sneer he so ably delivers. 

All in all, this is a film where you know going in what to expect - the film delivering everything you’d expect from the premise and cast, if little else. It’s a undemanding guilty pleasure but it does what it says on the tin and poster and in that sense it's easy to recommend its release…

Escape Plan (15) is released onto DVD by Entertainment One on 17th March...

Review score: 8 out of 10

Written By

John Mosby


John Mosby

Born at a early age, creative writing and artwork seemed to be in John’s blood from the start Even before leaving school he was a runner up in the classic Jackanory Writing Competition and began...

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