Stallone and Schwarzenegger finally team up in Escape Plan, now on 4K Ultra HD Disc! Here's our review!
A prison design expert (Sylvester Stallone) finds himself wrongfully imprisoned in a secret prison, with no contact with the outside world and no easy way out. A mysterious cellmate (Arnold Schwarzenegger), however, may hold the key to his freedom from the evil warden (Jim Caviezel).
Directed by Mikael Hafstrom
Escape Plan evokes the same mood as other 80s Stallone films involving prison breaks, including Lock Up and Tango & Cash. Thirty years after those films, however, we at least get a slightly more sophisticated narrative and some technical upgrades in film-making to go with all the nostalgia.
Escape Plan takes the same approach The Expendables series did - a rather implausible plot compounded by implausible characters causing mayhem in implausible action scenes. There are plot holes and logic gaps aplenty to be sure, but Escape Plan is still entertaining as hell, so like so many 80s Stallone films, all is forgiven.
Stallone himself is no longer playing a one-dimensional character, but rather gives a more nuanced performance that can still flash the 80s machismo when necessary. Matching him step-for-step is Schwarzenegger, who seems to be comfortable playing a much older hero with an underlying sense of melancholy. But he can still drop the cheesy one-liner and somehow make it work.
That’s not to say Stallone and Schwarzenegger give career-defining performances here, because they don’t. We’re not exactly talking David Mamet-level of character development here. What is noteworthy is the fact that these actors can take a clunky, implausible script and elevate it much higher than it deserves.
You’ll find yourself wishing the on-screen pairing of the two had a bit more oomph to it, but the script doesn’t quite rise to the epic level you might hope for. Still, seeing Arnold take an M-60 off of a chopper and go to work is a great moment.
The supporting cast is mostly an afterthought, and that includes Jim Caviezel, who should have had the opportunity to chew up some scenery as Warden Hobbes, but instead is given little to do but brood. The talents of Amy Ryan and Vincent D’Onofrio are criminally underused as well.
Instead, what Escape Plan does get right is focus on the two leads and their unfolding plot to get out. There are a few decent surprises, and even Sam Neill in a pivotal supporting role to boot.
The actual escape is a fun sequence (spoiler!), and the film ends on an up (and somewhat cliched) note, but it’s what Stallone and Schwarzenegger fans will want and expect. Escape Plan may be a forgettable adventure for some, but for those of us stuck in our comfortable 80s nostalgia niche, it’s a fun throwback that’s worth watching again.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The 4K transfer for this new release of the film is exceptional. Granted, the film is less than five years removed from its release, so the source material is high quality. As a result, the transfer is razor-sharp and shows no grain or distortion. The prison setting provides a drab color palette for the most part, and yet the greys and dark blues show plenty of pop.
A Dolby Atmos soundtrack is deep and crisp, with the surrounding channels providing good atmosphere.
A handful of extras are included, most notably, a “making of” featurette and some deleted scenes.
“Executing the Plan: The Making of Escape Plan” featurette. Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger discuss how they finally paired up as the leads for an action film after decades of fan anticipation, and detail the challenges the film brought. Producer Mark Canton, writer Miles Chapman, and director Mikael Hafstrom are all interviewed as well. Running time: 22:13
“Maximum Security: The Real-Life Tomb” featurette. A history of prisons, with a focus on the newer Supermax facilities, is provided. Running time: 21:57.
“Clash of the Titans” featurette. The pairing of Stallone and Schwarzenegger for the first time as leads is covered. The actors both talk about why “Escape Plan” was the movie that made it happen. Running time: 15:34
Deleted Scenes. Eleven deleted scenes are included, that can be viewed individually or in continuous play. The scenes included are: “See You Monday,” “You Don’t Eat Animals?,” “I Found Him,” “Have a Lovely Day,” “First Day of School,” “I Think I Broke My Finger,” “Maybe He’ll Sign My Book,” “You Mean Break Into Their Files?,” “Warden’s New Best Friend,” “The Prisoners Are Planning a Break,” and “Beach Scene (Extended).” The scenes themselves add a little more background to the escape plot, but are, for the most part, disposable.
Audio Commentary. Director Mikael Hafstrom and co-writer Miles Chapman provide a lively commentary with plenty of observations and insight into the making of the film.
Digital Copy. An Ultraviolet digital version of the film, compatible with services like VUDU and Movies Anywhere, is included.
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Running Time: 115 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English Dolby Atmos (4K only) English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (Blu-ray only), English 2.0 Dolby Digital (Optimized for Late Night Viewing), English Descriptive Audio for the Blind, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital (4K only)
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish
Special Features: “Executing the Plan: The Making of Escape Plan” featurette, "Maximum Security: The Real-Life Tomb" featurette, "Clash of the Titans" featurette, Deleted Scenes, Digital Copy.
Audio Commentary: With director Mikael Hafstrom and co-writer Miles Chapman