October 18, 2013 Updated: October 18, 2013 at 9:00 am
Starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Amy Ryan, Jim Caviezel, Vincent D'Onofrio; directed by Mikael Hafstrom; 1 hour, 52 minutes; rated R for violence and language throughout, Grade: C
Sylvester Stallone was always a better actor than Arnold Schwarzenegger. That burning question is answered once and for all in "Escape Plan," a vintage prison escape movie in the classic Sly and/or Arnold mold.
They're both locked up and looking for a way out of a super prison that has all the escape-proof conveniences that private enterprise can cook up. The old pros hit their marks, and each other. They spill some blood and theirs is spilled. A few one-liners and catch-phrases - "You hit like a vegetarian!" - and there you have it: Sly or Arnold in their heyday, in a nutshell.
Stallone plays Ray Breslin, who literally wrote the book on how security is compromised in maximum security prisons, and he co-owns a security company. He's inserted into prisons which he then breaks out of so he can teach the feds how to make their prisons more escape-proof.
His new challenge is a super-secure "secret" prison set up for the CIA and run by private contractors. It's a place for terrorists and their ilk, people who need to disappear. Ray goes in, but his team (Amy Ryan, the rapper 50 Cent) have their safeguards in place.
Only they're foiled. There's no tracking Ray, no telling where he's been taken to and no way of explaining who he is so that he can get out.
Villains are a tad too obvious and the finale you can see coming from miles off. And 50 Cent is still a terrible actor, though he's now sporting Hollywood dentistry.
So yeah, it's undemanding. But the tempered violence, the nature of the villains, the easy bonhomie of our leads and a cast peppered with great supporting players make "Escape Plan" go down easier than the other "Rambo"- "Last Man Standing" - "Expendables" pictures that brought these two aged action stars back from the dead.
roger moore, mcclatchy newspapers