Summer of Schwarzenegger - "Escape Plan" (2013)
(Yes, I know it's September. Bear with me. We'll get through this. I promise.)
Somehow, Arnold Schwarzenegger shared a double bill with Sinbad before he finally got around to teaming up with Sylvester Stallone.
One would think that the two biggest action stars in Hollywood history (sorry, Chuck Norris, but your meme-hype doesn't make you an actual bankable and/or memorable star!) would have had to cross paths at some point, and to an extent, they have. They've done little cameos. Arnold popped his head into the first two Expendables flicks. But as far as a bonafied team-up movie? Didn't happen until 2013. Weird, right? Anyway.
The gimmick here is pretty great: Arnold and Stallone are locked in the world's most secure prison. Of course, because this is movie that feels straight out of the 90's, the core concept is "two big manly-man stars prove that no prison can hold them." That's really it. I mean, yeah, there's some stuff about Stallone being a prison designer, and this being his ultimate test, and Arnold being a grizzled dude with a mysterious past, so on, so forth. But really? Honestly? This is about Arnold and Stallone breaking out of prison as themselves, complete with their signature role types and unique brands of one-liners.
And that's fucking awesome.
See, I would never argue that this movie is high art. It's not. The thing is, though, is that it scratches an itch for 90's popcorn flicks like nothing else... well, except for perhaps The Last Stand, but that's beside the point. The point is that this is the kind of cheesy, testosterone-fueled team-up movie we never get to see these days. We don't get enough Demolition Mans or Face/Offs, and that sucks. This is like that, except made in 2015, and on a budget, and with 50 Cent and a particularly ragged looking Sam Neill (you okay there, buddy?)
But even though the budget is pretty low, and even though the supporting cast is full of C-Listers (although Vincent D'Onofrio shows up and rocks it as usual,) this is a movie that actually feels lovable because of its limitations. Like, yeah, it's remarkably cheap-looking at times, but hey, it adds a sort of old-school charm to it. And, yeah, 50 Cent can't fucking act, but it's pretty fucking great to see him in a movie with Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Like, who could have seen that coming? Not me, that's for sure.
I don't really have a ton of things to say about this movie, much like The Last Stand. My opinion on both could basically be summed up as, "hey, this movie's pretty fucking great, and if you like 90's action movies, you'll love it, and if not, why are you even reading this?" So... yeah. I really like Escape Plan. I actually think it's one of Arnold's best, and it's one of the rare Stallone movies where he doesn't get on my nerves the entire time.
Next Time: We get to our penultimate movie, Sabotage, written by the "amazing" and "talented" Skip Woods! If you could tell, that was sarcasm, because he's awful!