Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) works for the federal bureau of prisons along with his partner Lester Clark (Vincent D'Onofrio) and team consisting of Abigail (Amy Ryan) and Hush (Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson). Ray will purposely get himself behind bars just to prove that he can figure out a way to break out. With 14 prisons currently under his belt, it's safe to say he knows what he doing. Ray decides to work for the CIA after they offer him double his usual wages, but he gets a little more than he bargained for. Ray wakes up in one of the world's most off-the-grid, secretive, and secure prisons, but realizes that he's going to have to rely on the help of a fellow inmate if he ever wants to see the outside world again. He finds that confidant in Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger). The plans Ray and Rottmayer continue to make regarding their escape are constantly foiled by the Warden Willard Hobbs (Jim Caviezel) and Drake (Vinnie Jones) the head of security. Is this the one prison that will imprison Ray Breslin for good or can Ray feel out the flaws of any man-made prison and be a free man once again?
"Escape Plan" shatters expectations early on and is actually fairly intelligent at times. Ray Breslin will breakdown the layout and floor plan of each prison you see him in on screen. It's done in a way that is reminiscent of the way Sherlock Holmes analyzes his surroundings in Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes." The floor plans have this cartoonish feel to them though that aren't unlike the ACME blueprints Wile E. Coyote tries to use on the Roadrunner on "Looney Tunes" or the ones Tom creates to try to build a better mouse trap to finally capture Jerry in "Tom and Jerry." Ray's assessments are actually really well thought out and are surprisingly sharp.
Aside from that though, "Escape Plan" is exactly what you'd expect from a film from Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Curtis Jackson attempts to portray a tech expert and tries to be a brainiac before finally giving in and doing nothing but curse. Vincent D'Onofrio is essentially the same character Jean Reno was in "Alex Cross" except he uses more hand sanitizer. You hold out a little hope for some of the talent involved. You may notice Sam Neill is a part of the cast, but the doctor he portrays doesn't do much of anything besides question his place and send off an email. Vinnie Jones is the tough muscle head you've come accustomed to him playing while Jim Caviezel is cold and ruthless yet forgettable.
The most entertaining part of "Escape Plan" is hearing Arnold do so much dialogue in Austrian. The particular scene is the best acting Arnold has done in years and he's by himself the majority of the scene and crammed in a steel box. The majority of the film is devoted to Ray planning an escape, having obstacles thrown in his way by Hobbs, attempts at negotiations, and Ray overcoming impossible odds all over again.
Your enjoyment of "Escape Plan" will likely rely on whether you enjoyed "The Expendables" films or not. These are two of the biggest action stars of the 80s and 90s and neither actor knows how to let that go. While it isn't quite fair to label "Escape Plan" as a spin-off of "The Expendables," that 90s cheese and outdated writing is still there.
"Escape Plan" is an action thriller that has hints of intelligence, but its elongated duration hurts it more than anything else as the film is about 30 minutes too long. Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are so busy trying to recapture their glory days that they don't realize how dated everything in "Escape Plan" really is. With dumb action at its core that feels a quarter of a century past its prime, "Escape Plan" fails to be a breakthrough hit even though Arnold is able to get to the chopper.
"Escape Plan" is now playing across the country starting today, October 18.