80's action bad boys, Stallone and Schwarzenegger make a damn good return to form in Escape Plan.
After their last few failed attempts at recapturing the glory days of over the top action, it was easy to go into Escape Plan with low expectations. Surprisingly enough, Escape Plan is a fun piece of escapist cinema that leaves behind the foul taste of the mediocre Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand with a rock solid story that is exactly what action fans have been dying for.
Escape Plan took me back to a time when Sly and Arnie could destroy a whole platoon with the flick of a wrist. And even more shocking was the attention paid to a coherent story line and character development. Unlike a lot of their movies, Escape Plan isn't all shooting and blowing things up. At the heart, this is a modernized prison escape movie with some great plot twists.
Don't get me wrong. Escape Plan is not thinking man's cinema. But, it's the long awaited return of two action icons doing what they do best: delivering one liners and kicking ass. Unlike The Expendables films, Escape Plan doesn't spend too much time reminding us that we're watching big action stars. There are no unforgivably cheesy cameos. Instead, we're given just enough back story and some decent performances from guys that have never been really good actors. At one point during Escape Plan I actually thought to myself, "Holy crap, Arnold is actually acting right now". It really made the experience of seeing these two on screen together a great time. When matched up properly, these two have terrific screen chemistry.
Yet, the best part of the movie is Jim Caviezel as prison warden Hobbes. Since the Passion of the Christ, Caviezel hasn't been around much. But, he absolutely steals the show in Escape Plan. His drama based acting chops and facial expressions make him the stand out performance of this movie. I'd give it a second viewing just to see Caviezel play evil again.
If you want to see something that is purely fun with just enough action to keep you interested, check out Escape Plan. It's a whole lot better than The Expendables and finally brings these two together in a proper pairing that I'm sure will spawn a sequel.
-Review by Chris George