Escape Plan features Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, with the 80's action duo teaming up to break out of prison, with a mysterious adversary in Jim Caviezel and plenty of conspiratorial intrigue to keep you guessing. In other words, it's a dumb B action film made to be a dumb B action film. That it has hints of being something more is actually to the film's detriment, with moments of promise coming crashing back down to reality with the next action set piece. In the end, it's a by-the-book Stallone and Schwarzenegger picture, with solid directing, exciting action stars, but a hapless plot and script.
With Escape Plan, Stallone continues to prove that he is still a very reliable lead actor that can shoot a gun, punch, look intense, and occasionally deliver dialogue with emotion. His later career has really shown an enhanced acting ability (though that's not necessarily saying much). Schwarzenegger's limited range is always felt, yet Escape Plan does a good job of masking that, relying on the ambiance of Schwarzenegger rather than Schwarzenegger himself, and doing so to good effect. The chemistry between the two is disappointing, yet both do a good job of anchoring the scenes, and continue to possess strong screen intensity.
Trying to analyze the plot of Escape Plan is really a fool's errand, as that is really not the point. It does manage to place Stallone and Arnold in a unique setting, with the appropriate stakes, and do so with a nice twist. That said, one can't help but think the film would have been stronger had it been played straight. Had the film simply been about two convicts, old in the tooth, needing to break free--it would have been all the stronger. As it is, Escape Plan can't help but offer ever ridiculous characters and situations, with exposition being filled in with the likes of Curtis Jackson.
Plot deficiencies aside, Escape Plan does have a good sense of self. The movie simply feels cool, the back-drop is well thought out, and the film never lags. It's reminicenst of the underrated series Prison Break, in which the twists and turns are never especially logical, yet they are masked by good execution. In this case, it delivers on all the necessary action beats, and manages to elevate the film by some interesting performances, and some well placed humor.
Overall it's a familiar, ultimatley forgettable, but enjoyable enough ride.