Plan to 'Escape' from this prison sell

  • Prison guards looking suspiciously like the Gray Man Group grab inmates Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), left, and Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) in the dopey action film "Escape Plan."

    Prison guards looking suspiciously like the Gray Man Group grab inmates Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), left, and Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) in the dopey action film "Escape Plan."

Posted10/17/2013 6:00 AM

"You don't look dat smahht," Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) says to Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone).

"Needer do yew!" Breslin replies.


Oh, great.

With "Escape Plan," we've not only got one of the dumbest action movies ever made, we can barely understand half of the dialogue uttered by its two iconic superstars.

At a Tuesday night press screening of "Escape Plan," Summit Entertainment didn't bother to collect cellphones and recording devices at the theater door the way other studios do before showings of movies such as "Gravity."

Either Summit knew people wouldn't bother to pirate "Escape Plan," or it hoped they would, that way ensuring more people might see it.

Stallone's Ray Breslin, a guy with an old face and young hair, works as a prison security expert. He goes into prisons as an undercover inmate, then figures out how to escape, all for an exorbitant fee.

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One day a CIA official visits his office. She wants Breslin to check out a new "off the grid" prison system designed to house the worst criminals in the world. And, because it's not officially sanctioned by the United States, it need not conform to American laws and regulations.

There are a few conditions: Not even Breslin will know the prison's location and he won't be able to contact anyone on the outside. Breslin's partners freak out.

"This goes against every guideline and protocol you yourself established!" Abigail Ross (Amy Ryan) shouts.

Their business manager Lester Clark (Vincent D'Onofrio) agrees, but Breslin doesn't care about guidelines. Breslin takes the job and, before we know it, a black van pulls up and masked guys stun-gun him and kidnap him. This doesn't make much sense, because Breslin already knows he's going to a supersecret prison anyway. Why kidnap him?

Breslin wakes up in an all-glass prison cell suspended from the ceiling in a giant space that looks like the warehouse at the end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark."


In short order, Breslin realizes he's now under the control of the best-dressed warden in the free world, Warden Hobbes, played by Jim Caviezel as a quietly sociopathic control freak whose hobby is mounting butterflies.

Drake, his right-hand enforcer played by the horribly typecast Vinnie Jones, willingly tortures inmates while scowling with menacing aplomb. He's one of many guards, most of whom are faceless figures resembling members of Blue Man Group, only gray.

One day in the common area, Breslin meets fellow inmate Rottmayer and they establish an absurdly instant bond of trust and mutual admiration.

Even before "Escape Plan" arrives at this historic first meeting between Rambo and the Terminator, Jason Keller's and Miles Chapman's deficient screenplay has already stretched the boundaries of common sense to extremes.

Hobbes enlists Breslin to help him locate the mysterious Victor Manheim, a never-seen mastermind reportedly powerful enough to bring the world's financial institutions to their monetary knees.

Rottmayer apparently knows where he's hiding. So, Hobbes wants Breslin to steamroller Manheim's location out of Rottmayer.

The rest of "Escape Plan," flairlessly directed by Swedish filmmaker Mikael Hafstrom, leaps from one improbable life-threatening event to the next while prison guards spray a jillion bullets and still miss their targets.

Sam Neill phones in his performance as the prison's physician, who must be reminded of his Hippocratic oath not to do harm, even though he's constantly checking inmates to be sure they can take more torture and torment.

Let's face it. "Escape Plan" just isn't dat smahht.

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