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‘Escape Plan’: Stallone, Schwarzenegger stuck in dull thriller

‘ESCAPE PLAN’ ★★

Ray Breslin | Sylvester Stallone

Emil Rottmayer | Arnold Schwarzenegger

Willard Hobbes | Jim Caviezel

Drake | Vinnie Jones

Summit Entertainment presents a film directed by Mikael Hafstrom and written by Miles Chapman and Arnell Jesko. Running time: 116 minutes. Rated R (for violence and language throughout). Opened Oct. 18 at local theaters.

Updated: November 26, 2013 6:10AM



Sure, it’s fun to see the Governator aka Arnold Schwarzeneger and the Italian Stallion aka Sylvester Stallone he-manning it up feature-length for the first time — the screen is barely big enough to contain them — but “Escape Plan” is unworthy of the momentous occasion.

Not only dull but impossible to take seriously, “Escape Plan” opens with a long, confusing intro involving Ray Breslin (Stallone) escaping from a federal prison. He’s a highly paid consultant who’s incarcerated in America’s toughest lockups long enough to figure out weak points, bust out and annoy their wardens by explaining how he did it.

Breslin accepts his next gig from a CIA agent who wants him to test a secret new super-prison for national security threats, over the objections of his support team (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Amy Ryan) — though his vaguely slippery-looking partner (Vincent D’Onofrio) thinks it’s a fine idea. Breslin’s locked up without the usual fail-safes in his most challenging hoosegow, with only the equally aging-yet-still-muy-macho Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) on his side.

The two 1980s action icons have the same natural chemistry here that they exhibited in smaller doses in the “Expendables” movies. But instead of seeming dauntingly ominous, the escape-proof prison looks like a giant Costco with glass-walled cages instead of groceries. Everything that happens is 100 percent routine: your cruel warden (Jim Caviezel), your sadistic head guard (Vinnie Jones), your staged brawls to get into solitary confinement, your conscience-stricken prison doctor (Sam Neill), your enemy who becomes an ally (Faran Tahir) and, of course, your climactic dash for freedom.

On the plus side, Schwarzenegger takes a wink-wink approach to his role (Rottmayer supposedly has links to an international banking-system Robin Hood), relishing lines like “You hit like a vegetarian.” Stallone insists on playing it straight, which becomes increasingly hard to buy as “Escape Plan” asks us to accept that Breslin is also a sophisticated businessman, an attorney, an expert on metallurgy and oceanic conditions, etc., not to mention a master of hand-to-hand combat.

These guys deserved something better than this, and so did we.

Bruce Ingram is a local freelance writer.



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