* (out of four)
A shocking discovery follows these details of “Escape Plan”:
-- Very old inmates test the weaknesses in their cages in hopes of breaking out.
-- The inmates are deadly on their own but work better as a team. They do not have a strong grasp of language.
-- A supposedly inescapable compound, accessible by helicopter, suffers due to human error. The security system goes down and needs to be rebooted.
-- A doctor played by Sam Neill questions the safety and sensibility of what he’s doing.
Conclusion: “Escape Plan” is a reinvention of “Jurassic Park” from the perspective of the dinosaurs!
As the raptors--I mean, guys confined to a super-secret, maximum security prison whose supposedly ultra-dangerous occupants don’t hold a candle to any of the baddies in “Con Air”--Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger engage in conversation that’s as hilariously bad as the performances. “You look like the kind of guy that finds things interesting,” Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger) awkwardly tells Breslin (Stallone), advising “Don’t get killed” because he once saw a body left to rot.
Breslin is actually there because he literally wrote the book on prison security and has been hired to challenge any vulnerabilities in a privately funded facility for criminals the government wants to “disappear.” If you guessed that someone would get waterboarded here, you’d be right. But you probably didn’t think Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who appears to be reading cue cards, would co-star as a tech wizard, allowing for a very funny scene of he and Stallone fiddling with a computer. As the idiotic warden, Jim Caviezel takes about 45 seconds to count down from 10.
That makes as much sense as anything else in “Escape Plan,” which of course throws in an obvious and bonkers conspiracy. Breslin, whose job seems way too risky to have succeeded 14 times before without serious injuries, determines he’s been set up simply because he struggles to immediately escape. And the entire film rests on every character being extremely gullible.
Speaking of doubt: I love that the prison doctor (Neill), experiencing a crisis of conscience, has to reread the Hippocratic Oath to make up his mind. Sometimes there’s nothing as unintentionally fun as onscreen common sense going extinct.
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