It may be a dying market and a more unforgiving climate, but yesteryear’s action stars are experiencing a brief delay from retirement. Schwarzenegger is back to killing bad guys after a political sabbatical and Stallone has been working to reconnect with the films that made him a star. Most of the movies they have lead have bombed (with the “Expendables” franchise out distancing them in rate of return). But for action fans, that doesn’t keep them from coming back for more.
In the most recent addition to the action-throwback subgenre, Schwarzenegger and Stallone pair up in "Escape Plan." Stallone stars as Ray, a man who wrote the book on maximum security prison procedures. But rather than simply implying a prison isn’t completely secure, he will break out of them just to showcase their flaws. When Ray is recruited to test a new secretive facility, he finds himself cut off from all help and any chance of making a quick getaway. Ray forms an unlikely bond with a fellow inmate (Schwarzenegger) and together they plot escaping and evading a warden with an agenda all his own.
The film feels like an intentional nod to the films the two men made in their heyday. The plot is more character focused than constant action and it avoids the false-climax aspect that permeates today’s action films. It does make the film feel a bit slow however. Too many films are pushing the 2-hour mark or longer when it isn’t necessary. It has its share of holes, but the film is meant for pure entertainment, which it mostly succeeds at. It pales before prison movie classics, but the film is still a fun romp. 2.5 out of 5 stars
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