Monthly Archives: October 2013

ESCAPE PLAN!!! Another SOLID Throwback


According to Wikepedia, it’s from the French Renaissance “re-birth” and Italian Rinascimento, from rinascere “to be reborn”.
And Escape Plan is another in a recent Re-Birthed string of 80’s Action Movie throwbacks. I keep talking about this in my posts, but to recap, it started a few years ago with The Expendables, continued with The Last Stand, Expendables 2, and to a lesser extent, It’s A Good Day to Die Hard. Most Jason Statham movies fall into this category too. And I LOVE IT.

:There’s something about the muscle-bound, man-against-an-army, no-CGI movies from 20 or so years ago – Steven Segal, Van Damme, Norris, Bruce Willis, Schwartzenegger & Stallone movies – that has been lost in more recent attempts to keep the young people going to the movies. If I had to boil it down to one thing, it has to be the cartoon CGI that always ALWAYS reaches past the story and the action and becomes a spectacle all it’s own… to the detriment of the rest of the movie. Some have slipped through the cracks: The Matrix, Batman Begins, Avatar, and more recently Pacific Rim (Which was my favorite movie over the summer by a LONG stretch).

Man of Steel and The Wolverine are PRIME examples. Those should have been GREAT movies. For good long bits of them, they actually were. Then, the cartoon portion begins, lasts way too long, and no amount of banter, no strong character development, no cliff-hanger of an ending can change the fact that 20-30% of the movie is pointless and un-watchable. THE ACTION HAS TO SERVE THE STORY!! I’m not a film maker and I know this. How can it be that with the talent involved from start to finish, these trainwrecks keep being released?!?

Enter Escape Plan. I was certain, a week into its release, that my buddy and I would be two of the only people in the theatre. It wasn’t even playing at my main theatre – an 18-theatre metroplex – up until a couple days ago, and I have heard next to nothing about it in the media. I was pleasantly surprised to see a mostly full house. And for good reason… This movie was AWESOME. It’s about a professional prison escape artist that gets double crossed and has to enlist the help of ol’ Arnold to try and escape from the most secure prison ever. The cast… unexpectedly incredible. Jesus Christ himself – Jim Cavizel – was the bad guy. The 2nd season love interest from The Wire (Sorry everyone. I’m the one who hasn’t watched past season 2) and 50-Cent make appearances, Vincent D’Onofrio, Sam Neill and Faran Tahir – the bad guy from Iron Man 1 – all help out in some way. Amazing cast.

It takes 3 things: Knowing the Layout, Routine, and Help from Outside or In.

It takes 3 things: Knowing the Layout, Routine, and Help from Outside or In.

I felt like a kid again, watching heros get shot, punched, thrown and all other sorts of abused. Then walking away with a little blood to wipe off but no permanent damage. You know, other than a burning need to take down the bad guys at all cost.

The fact that its the 2nd movie with Schwarzenegger since his (sort-of) comeback, add in that Stallone is the main character, only makes this all the more of a storybook renaissance. Since the film-makers of today insist on giving us 70% of a good movie, I can take solace in the knowledge that these guys are still going strong. And thank God, because I don’t have time enough in this life to wait for the rest of the entertainment world to figure out that the future can sometimes lie in the tried & true formulas of the past.