Unlike The Expendables films that take pride in cramming as many past-their-prime action heroes that are looking for an easy pay-cheque, Escape Plan offers us the pleasure of watching Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarznegger in their first true-blue cinematic jugalbandi.

Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a jail-break expert hired to slink out of US prisons to test their security systems. When he reluctantly accepts an offer to test a new facility designed to hold the world’s most dangerous criminals, he discovers he’s been double-crossed. With the sadistic warden (Jim Cavieziel) keeping a close eye on his every move, Breslin must turn to fellow grizzled inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarznegger) to help him in his breakout plan.
It’s not a bad premise, but it all unfolds so slowly, you’ll be checking your watch repeatedly to make sure it hasn’t stopped working. Many of the twists here are predictable, and the action scenes rather ordinary, which you don’t expect from a film starring the two greatest icons of the genre. Strong dialogue has never been the mainstay of action movies, and Escape Plan is no different, barring a few clever lines. When Stallone lands a lazy punch on his Austrian co-star, Schwarznegger hisses back: “You hit like a vegetarian.” How do you not cheer for that?
Alas, director Mikael Hafstrom fails to tie up loose ends in the film’s mediocre script, and the two legends themselves appear a tad embarrassed to have signed up for this snoozefest.
I’m going with two out of five for Escape Plan. Stallone and Schwarznegger deserve better. And so do we.

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