Thursday, March 6, 2014

Escape Plan (2013)

An Entertaining Popcorn Action Flick that thrives on the superstar chemistry

Now that Arnold Schwarzenegger is no longer the Governater of California and can focus on making movies again, we fans are all super elated. We know it won't be My Dinner With Andre or Citizen Kane but as a friend once said to me, "Movies are movies. Film is art. Some movies are made for different reasons, but film is STILL art." I guess there is enough to debate on that issue but Escape Plan is a cool ride. 

Escape Plan stars Sylvester Stallone as Ray Breslin, a master tactician for breaking out of prisons to show their flaws. He is a published author and the hottest commodity for someone testing their new prison facility. He receives an offer of 5 million dollars to breakout of a prison that is "off the grid". Ya know, black ops kind of stuff. The prison is high tech with all of the guards wearing creepy black face masks who carry tazer billy clubs as well as top of the line firearms. This prison supposedly houses the worst of the worst. The kind of scum sucking vermin that no one wants in their prison. So for a nice payday of 5 million dollars, why not? 

Well, nothing goes as planned and Ray is now in a prison with no way out. He does not even know where he is for help to come and find him. SNAFU'd. He meets Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), a fellow inmate who seems to know more about Breslin than he lets on. The prison is run by Warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) who speaks very softly and has many big sticks at his disposal, most notable Drake (Vinnie Jones). It isn't long before Ray begins to look for a way out with the help of Rottmayer. Escape Plan is fun, I will give it that. 

Directed by Mikael Hafstrom, a Swedish director who has done everything from commercials in his homeland to TV series and miniseries. He has directed a couple of very fine horror flicks, 2011's The Rite with Anthony Hopkins and 1408 a rather excellent film about a doomed hotel room with troubled author John Cusack as the resident. Hafstrom knows how to play the audience and he does it very well here. Revealing little bits of information but still holding back to keep the viewers interested. 

The script, by Miles Chapman and Jason Keller is smart enough to not take itself too seriously but at the same time it is not insulting and the whole cast seems to be having fun. I escpecially liked Caviezel as the smarmy and truly detestable Warden Hobbes. He is firmly in command and is written with brains. These kinds of films are only as good as the bad guy is bad, and Caviezel is a snake. There are some surprises I did not see coming and although some of the humor falls flat, there is enough tongue-in-cheek cheese to keep a smile on your face. 

Arnold and Sly obviously enjoy working together and they have chemistry on screen and Alex Heffes's score is a jubilant mix of synth, percussion and a full orchestra. Escape Plan is so preposterous and over the top that no one can take this seriously and it's not meant to be taken seriously. Therein, is its charm. Overall, Escape Plan is enjoyable in its most ludicrous extremes. Escape Plan *** out of 4  - JohnyyTwotoes


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