When Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to make a comeback to the big screen earlier this year with The Last Stand, he failed miserably. It wasn’t because he has turned into a dull husk, it was because the film just didn’t have anything exciting or fun to offer. This is not the case with Escape Plan.
Director Mikael Haffstrom understands that Stallone and Schwarzenegger have become outdated, and he knows that there is no way to bring in any new fans – so he’s constructed a movie that caters to the original fanbase. Escape Plan is a fun little homage to the ’80s and early ’90s action movies that is fun enough to pacify fans of its leads’old films and smart and modern enough to interest the younger crowd.
It’s a fine balance, and it wouldn’t have been achieved without the genuinely thrilling plot. It’s a good old-fashioned prison break movie, Stallone and Schwarzenegger are escape experts who are stuck in a mysterious jail called The Tomb. They have no idea where the prison is located, and have absolutely no contact with the outside world. There is also a great little twist regarding Stallone’s character that I’ll leave you to discover. If you loved the camaraderie between the two guys in the Expendables sequel, Escape Plan has two hours of it, and is as much fun.
Thankfully the film doesn’t use any meta jokes about the two being old and unable to carry out stunts the way they used to. It’s pretty much a straight-faced ham sandwich of a thriller with enough B-movie smarts to keep you invested through the runtime. And if you’re wondering, yes, Arnie does get to fire a massive machine gun and hurl half a dozen cheesy one-liners, and it is impossible to suppress a grin. If only he could escape from his prison of being trapped in ’80s style action movies and take up comedies instead.