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"Escape Plan" Review: Do We Achieve the Maximum Pump?

First of all, let me say that i'm very happy to hear about the overseas box office sales and the many sold-out theater showings of Arnold and Sly's new action film. Escape Plan opened a week ago in several parts of the world but for the majority of fans, we have to wait until the official release this friday, October 18th. Our very long wait is almost over. I'm not just talking about the wait from when "The Tomb" went into production until now; I'm referring to THE WAIT of our dream cast team-up of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone headlining together in one film!

Directed by Swedish filmmaker Mikael Håfström, the film follows Stallone's character Ray Breslin, a structural engineer who is wrongly  convicted of a crime and is incarcerated in a prison of his own design, aided in his escape by the tough and delightfully vulgar-tongued Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger).

Although this is a Stallone film (60% Sly and 40% Arnold screen time), Schwarzenegger's charisma, dialogue, potty mouth and bad-assery provides fans with one of his best onscreen characters ever! In fact, after 35 years as an action hero, Schwarzenegger has never played anyone near Emil Rottmayer. Never before have we heard Arnold "go off" in long German tirades. Never before have we seen Arnold hold a gun better than one scene here and never before have we seen The Oak so hysterically raunchy. In fact, I strongly believe that one lewd comment he delivers can top "I'll be back" as his new number #1 one-liner of all time!

Now there are a couple of problems with the film, as most films go. So this probably won't rank as high to you as the perfectly ranked Predator, Total Recall, Terminator and Conan the Barbarian. However, even semi-flawed films like Commando and The Running Man can still be tons of fun. That's what we're getting with Escape Plan: tons of fun! The first 15 minutes of the film feels slow and worrisome as it introduces Stallone, his team and his prison break organization. During these 15 minutes you might be thinking. 'uh-oh, will this movie ever pick up?' Fear not, once we get into The Tomb prison, we, as movie goers, are saved and so begins the real film.  The rest of the movie captivates you with heavy doses of action, suspense, humor and Schwarzenegger-isms!

The comedy works! Arnold and Sly have the same dynamic chemistry that Danny Devito shared with Schwarzenegger in Twins. Hats off to the director Mikael Håfström for having the PERFECT balance of comedy and action. When you're in the theater, count the number of times the audience erupts in laughter. There are four to six scenes that will guarantee huge laughs and all delivered by Arnold.

The dark and powerful soundtrack, composed by Alex Heffes, favorably compliments the very explosive 20-minute-long heroic climax. 
Walking out of the theater, I overhead many enthusiastic fans commenting about the thrills and chemistry within this film. Nothing but smiles were to be seen. Based on the crowds reaction, as well as my own, it is safe to say that we have a success on our hands. Box office gold or not, this is a successful film!

I must say that I am upset with the marketing of the film. While I see advertisements everywhere for a Stephen King remake film (opening on the same day), I'm seeing very few commercials for Escape Plan or when they do air, they're quick 15 second spots (barely long enough to show audiences that Arnold even co-stars). That said, I'll guess Escape Plan will open at number 3 behind Carrie and Gravity. But this film deserves to be higher and Stallone and Arnold fans have the power to act and make a difference. But have fans gotten soft and doughy or are will still strong and ballsy? Read our TOP 10 ways to make Escape Plan a hit by clicking HERE!

Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have seen the film twice already (once at the Comic Con premiere three months ago and again Tuesday night, October 15th at a press screening). I must say that as much as I LIKED the film on my first screening, I graduated to LOVING the film on my second viewing. I really enjoyed seeing Arnold as an all-new character and i'm sure to enjoy the film even more for my THIRD viewing when I PAY to see the film on opening weekend in D-BOX (motion activated seats). Well done, Mikael Håfström! Let's celebrate your accomplishment and have a cigar. Or how about 8?

Score: Ballsy! 8 out of 10 Stogies!

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