REVIEW: ESCAPE PLAN (2013)

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ESCAPE PLAN (2013)

Escape Plan is a routine but, thoroughly enjoyable action thriller elevated by being the first real team-up of Sly and Arnie… Arnie’s role in both Expendables flicks being barely more then a cameo… and a really top notch supporting cast. The story behind this thriller is of security firm co-owner Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) whose expertise is testing the security of prisons by literally escaping from inside them. He’s hired by a CIA operative to test the supposedly escape proof “Tomb”, a secret high security penitentiary where the world’s most heinous criminals are sent to never be heard from again. But, it is actually a set-up and Ray’s incarceration is very real and whoever is behind it, has no intention of Ray ever getting out. But, Ray has other plans and seeks the help of fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to escape from The Tomb and it’s sadistic warden (Jim Caviezel) and get payback from those responsible. It’s a shame it took this long for these two action juggernauts to get together because, they have a great chemistry and work really well together. Arnold especially gives some nice dramatic weight to his grizzled inmate with a secret and Sly is in top form as a man with very personal reasons for what he does. They really click well together and it would have been nice to see them do a movie like this in their prime… not that they don’t still have it, cause they do. And I like that neither man is trying to pretend they are still in their 30s and let the grey show and get up a little slower after being knocked down… but, they still get back up. And they couldn’t have a better supporting cast with Caviezel making a really cruel and slimy villain along with Vinnie Jones as Drake, an equally sadistic prison guard. We also get strong work from Sam Neil as the prison’s symapthetic doctor, Vincent D’Onofrio as Ray’s partner and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as Ray’s friend and employee ‘Hush’. And the top notch cast helps as Director Mikael Håfström directs fairly by the numbers. The film is well paced and has some nice suspense and action scenes but, there is nothing groundbreaking or exceptional about how he films Miles Chapman and Jason Keller’s script. It’s a solid enough action thriller but, would be rather forgettable if not for the dynamic cast. And it is the cast that really makes this an entertaining movie and a fun throwback to the type of flicks both men made during their heyday in the 80s. If you are a fan of these two, it’s definitely worth a look and you’ll probably get a bang out of it like I did. A fun old school action movie with 2 of the genres greatest stars showing there is still some fire in the furnace. Also stars Amy Ryan and Ironman’s Faran Tahir as a fellow inmate. 

A solid 3 bullets!

ex2 rating

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: OUTLANDER and MIMIC

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OUTLANDER (2009)

A very pleasant surprise as sci-fi/action flick is not only fun and entertaining, but creates strong likable characters and a good sense of drama. Outlander tells the tale of an alien warrior, Kainan (the underrated Jim Caviezel) whose ship is downed on Earth during the time of the Vikings by the same creature that murdered his family. While in pursuit of the beast, he is captured by a village run by kindly King Hrothgar (John Hurt) and his lovely daughter, Freya (Sophia Myles). But the monster, called a Moorwen, sets it’s sites on Hrothgar’s village and has already destroyed the neighboring village run by King Gunnar (Ron Perlman) who places the blame on Hrothgar. Now Kainan must somehow convince these rival warriors and their people of what is really responsible and that there is a monster, unlike they have ever seen before, that has chosen them as it’s new food supply…and more importantly, that they must unite and fight with him or die.

Outlander is a very entertaining movie that blends genres well and is not only helped by it’s good cast, but by also presenting a cool creature that is not only dangerous, but a bit sympathetic too, once we find out the whole story behind how it came to be there. The production value is strong, the visual style makes good use of the Novia Scotia and Newfoundland locations and most of the FX are top notch, thought there are a few instances where the CGI is weak. The action sequences are well staged and there is plenty of blood and gore to go along with the mayhem. A very entertaining, suspenseful and sadly overlooked genre flick from writer/director Howard McCain.

MonsterZero Nj trivia: Originally Karl Urban was sought to play Kainan but, the role went to Caviezel.

3 and 1/2 Moorwens

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Mimic

MIMIC (1997)

I’ve always liked monster movies and am a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro, so it’s no surprise I champion his giant bug movie set in the sewers of NYC. But I really do believe this is a good and very underrated monster movie. The story tells of a deadly disease devastating the city’s children and carried by it’s cockroaches. Entomologist Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) creates The Judas Breed, a new insect bred to destroy the infected cockroaches then die-off themselves. But the Judas Breed have other ideas and are soon lurking and growing in the city sewers and are now preying on humans. Susan, along with her husband, NY health department employee, Peter (Jeremy Northam) and a reluctant subway cop, Leonard (Charles S. Dutton) find themselves in the fight of their lives, and the lives of everyone in the city, as an expedition into the depths of the subway system gets them trapped in the monster insects’ nest.

I really enjoy this sci-fi/horror as it’s got a good story, has a top notch cast, the creature FX are really good and there is enough carnage and action to satisfy the average monster/giant bug movie fan. The attack scenes are intense and suspenseful and Del Toro gives his creatures a nice air of mystery till he’s ready to reveal them and when he does, they are menacing and have a character about them. He creates a lot of mystery and atmosphere and his visual style is gorgeous as usual. There is now available a director’s cut as Del Toro was unhappy with studio tinkering on the original release. It expands the story of Sorvino’s Entomologist and her husband, Peter as they try to have a baby, basically adding a bit more of a human element to already likable characters. But those looking for more creature stuff will be sadly disappointed. Film also stars Josh Brolin, F. Murray Abraham and in a small role, Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus.

 3 and 1/2 Judas Breed Bugs!
mimic rating

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