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One of the world's foremost authorities on structural security agrees to take on one last job: breaking out of an ultra-secret, high-tech facility called "The Tomb." Deceived and wrongly imprisoned, Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) must recruit fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to help devise a daring, nearly impossible plan to escape from the most protected and fortified prison ever built.
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What a fun film, that is what is was thinking while watching this movie. The concept is great even though we have all seen prison break flicks. The look, setting and tone of this film all the way to the actors involved, everything screams fun. This is a film that is not meant to be taken seriously. It is just a cool action flick with some people we have all enjoyed over the years. It took long enough but Sly and Arnnie are staring together.
Ray Breslin [Sly] is a man who spends his life in prison, breaking out. He is hired to go in and find the flaws in the system and help to fix that problem. He is hired one day to do such a thing with a prison that is off the map, a secret location for the worst of the worst. He can’t even let his team know where it is, he can’t even know. So once delivered he has to start his work but something is wrong. It seems someone wanted him there and the place seems unbreakable. So he has to find a way out of an inescapable prison, and he may even need help from some of the worst of the worst to do it.
This film was directed by Mikael Hafstorm who made films like “Derailed”, “The Rite” and the Stephen King based “1408”. All films I liked so I was sure I would like his work here. Also the writing team was Miles Chapman who wrote “Roadhouse 2” and Jason Keller who wrote “Machine Gun Preacher” and the fun “Mirror Mirror”. I think the combination of the three worked well here. Like I said the film was fun and also clever at times. Of course we would have nothing if not for the acting, and I loved it here.
Sly Stallone is perfect here and despite what others have said I think he was great for the role. He is a gritty veteran who looks like he belongs in jail when compared to the rest of his team. All of whom are great here as well including rapper turned actor Curtis Jackson also known as 50 Cent. Then of course we have Arnold as the guy who is already in the prison wanting to get out and sees his chance with Sly’s character. Arnold seems to be having a lot of fun with this character as does Vinnie Jones but it is Jim Caviezel who is the scene stealer here. His character and his portrayal of him is excellent. He is the perfect type of villain and you will see what I am talking about.
The Blu-Ray/DVD combo comes with deleted scenes and behind the scenes features but it is the commentary that I enjoyed the most. I would recommend this flick to anyone who is a fan of any of these people involved or just looking for a flick on a lazy night. This is a fun flick with some fun characters and actors.
Ray Breslin (Stallone) is a highly paid specialist who offers a unique kind of services - he gets incarcerated in prisons to test their security. He usually finds a lot of flaws, including in the strictest high security facilities... One day he is send to test a very, very exceptionnal place, run by a strange warden (Jim Caviezel). Once inside, he quickly realises that there is something very wrong both with this place and his own situation. He also befriends another inmate, a certain Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), who seems to be the object of particular attention from all the guards... And then the story begins.
Before going into the film itself, for once I decided to beef up my review with some bulls**t psychology, so here it is. Did you notice how often Stallone plays characters escaping or running away from something/somebody? Well, let's have a count (precision - I include only the films I saw):
- "Rocky" - escapes from misery and failure
- "Paradise Alley" - escapes from misery and failure
- "Rocky II" - escapes from misery and failure
- "Escape to victory" - escapes from a Nazi prisoner camp
- "Rambo: the first blood" - runs away from a redneck sheriff and the whole freaking division of National Guard
- "Rambo II" - escapes from Vietnam with American MIAs
- "Cobra" - runs away from a gang of satanistic murderers (but gets caught by his future bisexual cheating gold-digging wife...)
- "Rambo III" - escapes from Afghanistan
- "Lock up" - runs away from a high security prison run by a sadistic warden (already...)
- "Tango and Cash" - runs away from a high security prison run by a sadistic warden (is there a pattern here?)
- "Cliffhanger" - runs away from a gang of ruthless murderers AND from his past...
- "Assassins" - runs away from Antonio Banderas...
- "Daylight" - escapes from a watery grave...
- "Cop Land" - tries to escape from failure and from his past...
- "Antz" - tries to escape a genocidal general (but gets caught by Jennifer Lopez)
- "D-Tox" - tries to escape from a morbid depression and a serial killer
- "Driven" - tries to escape from a lot of racing cars (ultimately wins the third place...)
- "Rambo" (the fourth film) - escapes from Burma
- "Bullet to the head" - tries to escape from Khal Drogo...)))
- and finally this film...
OK, now I am done playing doctor and I can get to the review of the film itself.
There was potential in this film and there are some nice ideas and some good moments in it - in fact there is even a couple of twists which I didn't see coming. The cast is very good, as other than the actors already mentioned we have in smaller roles Sam Neill, Vincent d'Onofrio, Amy Ryan ("The Wire") and last but not least a very, very bad and very, very bald Vinnie Jones...))) There is also a couple of good one liners - but not too many... Finally, Jim Caviezel's character is quite interesting - in fact he seems to be that guy who will one day become Mr Reese from "Person of Interest", it's just that he didn't meet Finch yet...)))
There is however also a lot of weak points. First let's say that most of the scenario doesn't make the SLIGHTEST sense - but I cannot really be more specific, as it would provide spoilers. The whole prison break is ultimately very disappointing as a place which seemed to be the ultimate challenge for a professional master of escape is revealed to have more holes in its security than swiss cheese... Some plot holes are so enormous that they actually made me laugh (one of them concerns security cameras...). Finally, sorry for a little SPOILER here but any prison which relies on security guards carrying firearms in areas where they can have real physical contact with inmates, well, such a place is not a high security prison - it is a MAJOR DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN!
The scenes with Stallone and Schwarzenegger are a disappointment. There was a lot of potential here for humour, tension and drama - and there is very little of any of them... The whole idea of Muslim inmates was horribly mismanaged, mostly because of enormous amount of political correctness - clearly the director didn't want them to be terrorists, so he made them into drug trafficking gangsters. But because they are Muslim, somehow they appear as honorable, heroic characters...
Let's not even talk about Sam Neill's character, a pathetic, clueless doctor who needs to check in a book what is the Hippocratic oath...)))... Poor Sam Neill, he clearly REALLY needed a paycheck...
It is a disappointing film. Rating it three stars is probably too generous - but I simply couldn't force myself to rate lower the first real Stallone-Schwarzenegger film ever... Recommended obviously for all rabid Stallone and Schwarzenegger fans (like me) - but if you are not one, well, don't expect too much...