Sunday, November 30, 2014

Movie Review - Escape Plan (2013)

Ah, another women in prison movie!  Nothing like a good, old fashioned, tits and ass flick with naked chicks and...   wait, what?  It's guys in prison?  With Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger?  Who the hell wants to see them naked?  They're OLD!  Why would...  Oh, they're not naked?  And it's an action movie without any shower scenes?  Whew.  Okay, I can do this.  Whew.  Close one.

Escape Plan (2013) is another action movie by a couple old geezers, I mean, uh, veteran actors and action stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a security expert who has made his living escaping from various federal penitentiaries and then writing about and reporting the results of his many successful escape attempts.  After escaping from a maximum security prison, Ray is approached by a CIA agent who wants him to test out one of the new, secret, corporate-run facilities for double his usual fee.  Ray decides to give it a shot, only things immediately begin to go wrong, and Ray realizes he's been set up from the get-go.  Imprisoned and abandoned, Ray is left to fend for himself in a cage full of world-class thugs and terrorists.  Can he escape the ultimate prison, even with all his skills?

I'm not really sure how to quantify this movie.  It's got a little revenge in it, it's got a little buddy-cop vibe to it, and it reminds me of escape from alcatraz with Clint Eastwood way back in the day.  There's explosions, gunfights, prison riots, black-ops covert stuff, and a mix of betrayal and insanity tossed in.  Technically, I suppose it best qualifies as an action movie.  With, those masters of the action movie genre, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  So.  if you like those guys, and like action, it's hard to go wrong with this movie.  The acting is decent enough, with Sylvester Stallone playing the lead role, Arnold Schwarzenegger playing Rottmeyer, Ray's new best friend in prison, and Jim Caviezel (from Person of Interest) playing the thoroughly corrupt corporate prison warden.  Sam Neill, interestingly enough (interesting because I didn't expect to see him in such a minor role), plays the prison doctor.  Vincent D'Onofrio plays Ray's business partner, so the cast is pretty damned experienced.  This isn't Madame Butterfly or anything, so there's not much character development, and nobody acts the shit out of it, but it is what it is.  Nobody seems to just be going through the motions, as far as I can tell.  Then again, they're professionals, so how would I know?  I couldn't act my way out of a paper bag.

I thought this was a decent enough movie.  It's action, so there's not supposed to be much character development.  I was waiting for a line from Stallone about how Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) the prison warden, had only read the book on prison security, whereas Ray Breslin (Stallone) was the one who wrote it, but that never happened, so maybe that line was too obvious.  There weren't any obvious plot holes in this movie, which I found refreshing, or at least, none that I can think of offhand.  Pretty much everything gets explained at the end, rather quickly, but it gets explained.  I think it's good that Stallone and Schwarzenegger stick to mostly outsmarting their opponents, with a minimum of hand-to-hand combat (since they really are getting up there), which made things slightly more believable.  I mean, sure, they are action heroes, so there has to be some fighting, and they manage to pull that much off well enough.  The explosions, technical know-how and mechanical gimmickry is done as well as any other blockbuster, which, I guess this movie really wasn't.

I guess what hurt the movie was possibly the lack of character development, I mean, there's a small blurb 2/3rds of the way through where we find out why Ray spends his life doing this kind of thing, but pretty much everyone else is a total damned mystery.  There's a little head-to-head mental combat going on between Hobbes and Ray that is kind of fun to watch, but you got to wonder why Hobbes tells Ray he's still in total control of the prison at a certain point in the movie.  I'm not going to give away any real spoilers, but if the addition of a successful escape artist to your prison population hasn't completely destroyed your ability to be in control of the situation, I'm not sure what would.  The fact of the other things going on at the time just underscores Hobbes' complete and total loss of control, and I wonder what makes Hobbes, who seems like an otherwise intelligent fellow, cling to his beliefs about his prison's efficiency.  Some better looking chicks, a little female nudity, and perhaps a little more character development might have really helped this movie.  Also, it might have helped to explain exactly who the hell Mandheim (or whoever the hell it was Rottmeyer mentions) really was, because I have literally no idea.  If it's something floating around in the news, I stopped watching the news years ago because it was just all bad.  Oh well.  It was still a decent enough action flick, even if Arnold doesn't say "I'll be back." in it, and sadly, nor does Sven-Ole Thorson appear in it.  I guess he and Arnold had a falling out?  Meh.

So, all in all, worth a watch for a good action movie, but not exactly something I'd watch over and over again.  That's almost all for tonight.  I already started my xmas movie viewing, and I'm going to get back to it.  I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for everything I have, and everything I am going to get.  Sure, I'm about as stressed and fucked up as anyone else, but dammit, there's always good food and a warm bed to be thankful for, right?  And shit, I still have games and internet access!  What more could a lifelong geek want?  :-D  OH, and I almost forgot!  I passed 10000 pageviews this past week!  Dayum!  I'd do a whole Sally Field thing and gush about how everyone likes me, but I couldn't possibly bring it off as well as she did.  I'd just end up looking goofy, which, is about normal for me, anyway.  :-/  Catch you guys next weekend!

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