For years fans have wanted to see Stallone and Schwarzenegger together on film. Sure they appeared in the Expendables films, but those were more of an ensemble that spread the focus around. When they branched out to deliver their first original solo projects in the under-appreciated films Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand it felt like the action genre was back to where it should be. Now we are finally getting the team up we have always wanted with their latest film Escape Plan, but can it live up to the vision we’ve had for all these years?
Escape Plan follows the world's foremost authority on structural security who takes on a job to break out of the ultimate prison only to find out that he’s been set up. Now he must put his skills to the test to escape from this escape-proof prison and only help he has is on the inside. Despite the movie being fairly predictable it still manages to be pretty entertaining. The story is pretty simple and while a bit far-fetched at times works really well and has these two guys doing what they do best. This isn’t a full on action film as they have been delivering as of late, but instead attempts to be a bit more clever with their escape plans and the mystery of who is behind it all and works. Sure it’s not all that hard to figure out some of the twists, if not all, but it’s still fun to watch. The beginning of the film with Stallone and his team featuring Vincent D’Onofrio, 50 Cent, and Amy Ryan felt a bit forced and doesn’t play out that well, but thankfully they are quickly put to the back burner and all but left out for most of the film. This is Stallone’s show and he delivers the expected performance, but it’s Schwarzenegger that seems to be having the most fun. Not only do we get both of these action icons toned down a bit, but letting them continue to play the mature versions of themselves while still being tough guys. Just when you thought there was nothing new Arnold could deliver we get a great scene with him speaking in his native Austrian language that is not only entertaining but gives us a glimpse of him like never before. The real scene stealer of the whole film is the always great Jim Caviezel. His soft spoken warden plays that uncomfortable insanity in a way that is so calm it is terrifying. Between this and his great series Person of Interest it’s great seeing him back in action where he belongs.
There are some fun moments here, including a great Arnold gun sequence and a fight between Stallone and Vinnie Jones, but they attempt to focus on the story instead of the one-liners, action, and muscle flexing making for something smarter than they have delivered in some time. Make no mistake those elements are still here, but this is a good new direction for these guys and one that I hope they continue with in their solo films. If you are fans from back in the day or a new one with good taste then you should check out Escape Plan and get ready for their return again in Expendables 3 next year.