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Escape Plan (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 110 minutes.

Not for children.

Old guys Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger acquit themselves admirably in this brutal thriller about escape from what seems to be an impossibly secure prison, headed by warden Jim Caviezel. Whatís unfortunate is that director Mikael HŚfstrŲm inserts absurdly violent torture and fights in which the victims irresponsibly are shown suffering little or no lasting damage, looking unmarked and movie-star coifed in the very next scenes, after suffering blows that would kill any ordinary mortal, or at least put him in the hospital for many months. Despite this, the story provides good escapist tension.

The supporting cast is quite good for a movie like this, highlighted by another fine performance by Sam Neill, who has yet to disappoint me. But movies like this live or die by the action and number of bullets spraying all over the place and the stunts. The bullets and stunts donít really occur until the climax that strains credulity to the breaking point, even including what is becoming the obligatory shots of the star hanging on a rope ladder to a helicopter flying away but shooting and hitting the bad guys.

Itís regrettable that a movie that had built quite a bit of credibility stoops to such a hackneyed ending. But thatís not enough to ruin the evening. This is an entertaining couple of hours.