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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Sylvester Stallone
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Jim Caviezel
Vinnie Jones
Vincent D'Onofrio
Amy Ryan
Sam Neill
50 Cent.
Directors
Mikael Håfström.
Screenwriters
Miles Chapman
Jason Keller.
Running Time
115 minutes

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Escape Plan
Arnie and Sly creaking in the joint


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Plot
Ray Breslin (Stallone) literally wrote the book on high-security detention, and spends much of his time in prison to test security systems by breaking out. But when he’s sent to a new facility, he finds he’s been double-crossed and is really locked up – and has to team up with a fellow prisoner (Schwarzenegger) to escape...


Review
Escape Plan
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This town is big enough for the both of them. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone had parallel careers, inevitably seeing them cast as muscle-men rivals even while they themselves maintained an apparently mutual respect. After all, the pair had largely distinct areas of influence: while Stallone built his career on Rocky, Rambo and crime dramas, Schwarzenegger had Terminator, Predator and self-skewering comic turns. And while they’ve shared the screen briefly in the last few years, this is the first time they’ve played off one another for an entire film. The good news is that they still have the power to dwarf everyone around them. The bad news is that Schwarzenegger gives the far better performance of the pair, and he’s in the supporting role.

With a twinkle in his eye and endless tricks up his sleeve, Schwarzenegger’s Emil Rottmayer is the charismatic engine that drives the movie, picking up the pace when Stallone threatens to drop off (at one point literally, when he’s sleep-deprived by sadistic guards). Rottmayer’s long-incarcerated con is insistent in befriending Stallone’s newly arrived Breslin, despite the latter’s surliness, and goes along with Breslin’s wilder schemes with a cheery enthusiasm that only lightly masks his underlying intelligence. The Governator pushes himself for the first time since his return to acting here, breaking into a German tirade and raving like a madman to further their escape attempts. Perhaps he enjoys the freedom of playing second banana; he certainly seems to be having more fun than Stallone, who grimly goes through the familiar motions of an overly drawn-out plot.

And it’s there that the film falls down, with every beat feeling overly familiar. There’s a vicious warden in Jim Caviezel, Vinnie Jones’ thuggish guard, a rat-fink traitor and antagonist-turned-ally. While an early attempt to escape the super-prison feels surprising – there’s some clever stuff with heat expansion physics – and the prison design poses pleasantly meaty challenges, it soon falls into the same old clichés, and a dreadfully played last scene literally has Stallone remark, “I didn’t see that coming” of a twist that every single audience member will have been on to from minute five. If this is how the pair’s first real face-off pans out, Stallone should ask for a rematch.


Verdict
For a long stretch of the second act the film feels like doing a long stretch, but Schwarzenegger’s having a ball as Stallone goes through the motions.


Reviewed by Helen O'Hara

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Escape Plan
Empire Star Rating

RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

Stallone continues on the comeback trail ... a brawny action thriller that benefits from decent CG effects and shrewd supporting turns by Schwarzenegger and, as the sadistic warden, Jim Caviezel ... More

Posted by chang at 10:05, 31 December 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

L: Qwerty Norris L: Dr Lenera Most of today's shit action directors present the action as a headache-induing blur, using riduculously fast editing, shakycam, and all that crap. h not i]again...you don't like shaky-cam and that's fine, but to claim that the style is unsuitable for film and shit for action/thrillers is absurd, simplistic & extremely narrow-minded. As for Escape Plan, I was pretty disappointed to be honest. It has a decent action film premise, but the script... More

Posted by Dr Lenera at 11:59, 27 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

L: Dr Lenera Most of today's shit action directors present the action as a headache-induing blur, using riduculously fast editing, shakycam, and all that crap. h not i]again...you don't like shaky-cam and that's fine, but to claim that the style is unsuitable for film and shit for action/thrillers is absurd, simplistic & extremely narrow-minded. As for Escape Plan, I was pretty disappointed to be honest. It has a decent action film premise, but the script doesn't really take ad... More

Posted by Qwerty Norris at 13:56, 26 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

Ray Breslin is a former prosecutor who co-owns Breslin-Clark, a Los Angeles-based security firm that specializes in testing the reliability of maximum security prisons. He gets into prisons to study their designs and the guards’ habits to find and exploit their weaknesses, thus enabling him to escape without a hitch. He and his business partner Lester Clark are offered a multimillion dollar deal by CIA agent Jessica Miller to test a top-secret prison and see if it is escape-proof. Breslin agree... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 20:27, 22 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

L: rawlinson Well all of Stallone's comeback has been based on appealing to nostalgia, be it revisiting his most popular characters or the Universal style monster mash of 80s action stars that was The Expendables. He's basically the Peter Kay of over-the-hill action stars, reminding the world of t that most of us were glad we'd forgotten.ote] Actually action movies, with a few exceptions, were much better in the 80's. For a start, you put on an 80's action film and you can guarant... More

Posted by Dr Lenera at 20:22, 22 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

Fair enough, I'd rather twists weren't referred to in reviews as well, but having said that if it's a particularly weak part of the film (and clearly she thinks it is if it's noticeable five minutes in) then I think it's pretty fair game. Personally I'm far more worried about this blatant anti-Stallone agenda I keep hearing about... ... More

Posted by horribleives at 12:19, 22 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

L: horribleives L: Cool Breeze Watched it last night and thoroughly enjoyed it.Sly is as good as ever and Arnie in particular is on great form.Some decent action and refreshingly violent ( proper blood squibs! swearing! ). This is well worth a high 3 stars at least.s more than can be said for Empires shitty review. hat's wrong with it? f there is anything worse than a review that says '' Wait until you see the twist! '', its a review that claims '' Oh and the twist is ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 11:41, 22 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

Well all of Stallone's comeback has been based on appealing to nostalgia, be it revisiting his most popular characters or the Universal style monster mash of 80s action stars that was The Expendables. He's basically the Peter Kay of over-the-hill action stars, reminding the world of 80s shit that most of us were glad we'd forgotten. ... More

Posted by rawlinson at 21:39, 21 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

And audiences themselves, since both Arnie's and Stallone's work seem to all be bombing to high heaven or underperforming unless they're not that Expandables shit or some other nostalgic crap. ... More

Posted by Deviation at 21:31, 21 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

All those other critics that have ended up giving Escape Plan a 50% rating on Metacritic and 45% at RT, that kind of critical consensus can clearly only come from an anti-Stallone bias. ... More

Posted by rawlinson at 15:33, 21 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

L: Dr Lenera Well it shows Empire's ongoing anti-Stallone bias, for a start. he Stallone they gave a big interview to this week? Yeah, OK. ... More

Posted by matty_b at 14:14, 21 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

L: Dr Lenera Well it shows Empire's ongoing anti-Stallone bias, for a start. h dear. ... More

Posted by horribleives at 12:52, 21 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

Well it shows Empire's ongoing anti-Stallone bias, for a start. ... More

Posted by Dr Lenera at 12:49, 21 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

L: Cool Breeze Watched it last night and thoroughly enjoyed it.Sly is as good as ever and Arnie in particular is on great form.Some decent action and refreshingly violent ( proper blood squibs! swearing! ). This is well worth a high 3 stars at least.s more than can be said for Empires shitty review. hat's wrong with it? ... More

Posted by horribleives at 11:53, 21 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE: Prisoner: Cell Block Ouch

Watched it last night and thoroughly enjoyed it.Sly is as good as ever and Arnie in particular is on great form.Some decent action and refreshingly violent ( proper blood squibs! swearing! ). This is well worth a high 3 stars at least.Which is more than can be said for Empires shitty review. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 17:11, 20 October 2013 | Report This Post


RE:

It was ok. I wish it was sillier and more tongue in cheek (there are admittedly some funny moments, mostly from Herr Schwarzenegger), but it was otherwise a fair amount of fun. Better than The Expendables, anyway. ... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 00:19, 19 October 2013 | Report This Post



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