Arnold Week: Escape Plan (2013)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was first on the site on September 2, 2019.

Despite the teaming of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Escape Plan underperformed at the U.S. box office. So how have there been three of these films? Simple. International box-office success, as this movie debuted in first place in several foreign markets, with the total international gross more than doubling its $50 million budget, leading to a worldwide gross of $137.3 million.

Ray Breslin (Stallone) is a former prosecutor, businessman and skilled structure engineer, but he’s really known for being the world’s best escape artist. As part of Breslin-Clark, he poses as an inmate to test supermax prisons from the inside out. His goal? Keeping criminals in jail, because back when he was a lawyer, his wife and child were killed by a convict he put away that escaped.

Breslin and business partner Lester Clark (Vincent D’Onofrio) get a multimillion-dollar offer from CIA agent Jessica Mayer, who wants them to test a top secret prison where several prisoners have disappeared. They’re not told where this prison is, but Breslin allows himself to be captured. However, things go wrong right away, as his tracking chip is removed and he has no idea where he is.

Now, he’s under the control of Warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) and meets fellow prisoner Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger). Together with Javed, a Muslim prisoner, they start to create an escape plan — but soon learn that they are on a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean.

This movie is packed with interesting supporting players. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson plays Hush, Ray’s best friend and technical expert. Sam Neill is a prison doctor. And former soccer star Vinnie Jones is the lead guard.

Escape Plan was directed by Mikael Hafstrom (1408) and was written by Jason Keller and Miles Chapman, who has written all of the Escape Plan films. It’s way better than the next two films in the series, but that kind of goes without saying, right?

See also: Escape Plan 2: Hades and Escape Plan: The Extractors.

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