Blockhead prison break flick that’s not really good for you, but could be a guilty pleasure for those with a high bloodlust quotient. Escape Plan has some chump dialogue, with lines so slow-witted and dumbbell that it’s mostly there just to move the plot forward. Sylvester Stallone is still a blue-collar heroic worth cheering for despite the small vocabulary. But check this out: Co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger gets all the funny lines and winks that are missing from the rest of the script. I actually enjoyed hearing Schwarzenegger speak in his native German during one scene.
Stallone is Ray Breslin, a master jailbreak expert who is so revered he has written a tome called “Compromising Correctional Institutional Security” read by wardens everywhere. After a nifty opening jailbreak, a new job presents itself to test a prison literally off the grid – a place where the worst criminals are sent to rot away. But there’s a conspiracy here: Somebody wants Breslin banished away for life. The glass cell and large hangar for a prison is like the one Nicolas Cage is sent to in “Face/Off,” the guards look like something out of “THX 1138,” and Jim Caviezel as the warden is a psychopath just like Donald Sutherland in “Lock Up” which also had Stallone (Seen it? I bet that was a long time ago).
Since the cellblocks are all transparent glass, the only way Breslin can figure to get some alone time is to get sent to isolation for punishment – which he does twice. The big reveal shot of where the prison actually is located is something of a doozy even if you had already guessed it. Basically, before and plenty after that surprise, Stallone and Schwarzenegger get beaten a lot until they finally get some weapons for payback – and Schwarzenegger, continuing to be the scene-stealer, is allowed to revisit his mid-1980’s homicidal rage roots by going “Commando.” I don’t feel good about it, but something got me giddy when I saw my childhood action hero turn on the pain against the corrupt baddies.
Even as a premise however, “Escape Plan” has its holes in addition to lacking dialogue. This is watchable trash, but don’t mistake it for anything more.
116 Minutes. Rated R.
ACTION FANS / GUILTY PLEASURE / LATE NIGHT TURN-OFF BRAIN
Film Cousins: “THX 1138” (1971); “Lock Up” (1989); “Death Warrant” (1990); “Face/Off” (1997).