Arts movie review

A prison escape artist’s nightmare

Stallone and Schwarzenegger star in an action movie that poses some thorny questions.

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Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Escape Plan.
Alan Markfield


Escape Plan

Directed by Mikael Håfström

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, 50 Cent

Rated R

Now playing

When you go to see a movie starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and 50 Cent, you know you are in for an action-packed, blood, bombs, and guns style movie. This movie did not disappoint, but did add an unexpected and thoughtful plot.

From the trailer we see that Escape Plan details the journey of expert prison escape artist Ray Breslin when what seemed to be “just another job” turns into a nightmare, and someone is trying to lock him away for good! There is plenty of suspense and the plot takes many turns, turning out to be much less predictable than I imagined when I first walked into the theater. The film had a sort of dystopian feel to it — super prisons where people can quite literally disappear, removed from any sort of governmental regulation, and at the complete mercy and judgment of the wardens? A prison in which drug cartels can pay the warden millions of dollars to imprison a rogue member, burying him for good? Yep, sounds like speculative science fiction trying to warn us in advance that those are bad ideas.

The film definitely begs ethical and philosophical discussion regarding prisons and human rights. How far should we go to ensure that those we imprison remain locked away? Are there situations in which torture is permissible? Should privately run prisons be allowed to exist without intensive regulation to make sure that human rights standards are met? Are there cases in which people should be locked away without a trial or chance to prove innocence? Where do we draw the line between corruption and violation of rights, and ethical removal and restraint of dangerous people from society? These are all questions I asked myself during the viewing, and I am still trying to think of satisfactory answers.

The only complaint I have about the film was that some key questions are quickly wrapped up at the end, in perhaps a less than satisfactory way, so be sure to pay attention or you will miss some pretty interesting details about Ray Breslin and Rottmayer’s (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character’s) background.

Overall, this movie was pretty entertaining, I definitely recommend seeing it. While delivering on the implicit promise of tons of action, violence, and swearing, the film also offers several humorous moments and amusing references to the infamous actors’ previous and just-as-infamous roles, as well as interesting philosophical ponderings.