The Fifth Estate
But Escape Plan could never be great movie because its ambitions are aimed too low. It simply wants to emulate the great 80's action movies and do nothing more. While it feels like a somewhat close recreation, cinema has moved on a long time ago. The film doesn't try to turn the genre on its head, or do anything other than copy what came before it. There are moments where the film excites and thrills, but those moments are mostly callbacks to older and better movies, where the actors were younger, and could carry off the action more convincingly. This also begs the question of just how old are we supposed to think the two leads are?
Everyone's age is showing, and with each cinematic romp through 80's action clichés, it becomes a little less believable that these guys could perform the kinds of action scenes were supposed to believe they're preforming. Stallone's gait looks stiff and ragged, and it is at times impossible to believe that Arnold is a prison tough guy that can dispatch dozens of muscle-bound criminals without breaking a sweat. The suspension of disbelief is stretched paper-thin; instead of feeling like a triumphant return to the past, which it only manages to be at points, Escape Plan feels like a showcase of actors well past their prime struggling to hold on to the poses and personas that made them famous as their bodies slowly betray them.
The best aspect of Escape Plan is that it's a horrendously stupid movie that knows just how horrendously stupid it is, and it revels in that fact. It follows every tenet of dumb action movie logic to a T, but it does so with confidence and cheek. Even as you're sitting three steps ahead of the movie, you're waiting for it to catch up with a slight nostalgic smile, rather than sitting there bored. The problem is that it never becomes anything more than a traced copy of what came before it. The two aging leads bring everything they have to the table, but everything they have is looking weathered and starting to fray at the edges.