Viewed – 24 March 2015 Blu-ray
I haven’t been that interested in this 80s action hero revival that began with The Expendables movies (the first one was bad enough) as I felt there was too much of a nudge-nudge wink-wink attitude going on, that seemed to poke fun at the stars I had once adored. However this prison-set actioner looked a bit more serious, and well, what’s not to be appealed by a Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger team up?
Stallone plays a guy who specialises in testing the security of prisons, and has been able to break out of every prison he has been planted in. However when approached by the CIA to test a top-secret facility, Stallone jumps at the chance to truly put his skills to the test. However everything is not quite as it seems, and soon he’s inside a high-tech prison even he is unsure can be escaped from. So he befriends fellow inmate Schwarzenegger who has an agenda of his own.
It’s a fairly complicated set up for what is basically a slightly more tongue-in-cheek ‘Escape from Alcatraz’. We get a shady warden who seems utterly corrupt, a psychotic henchman who takes too much pleasure in beating up inmates (a snarling Vinnie Jones) and a kindly doctor who takes an interest in Stallone & Arnie’s plight (Sam Neil looking a tad bored). The plot gets rather convoluted at times (such as the warden’s evil scheme, something to do with a banker?) – but we’re not here for meaningful characters or absorbing plot. What we do get is plenty of violence, action and intrigue as we watch our heavy-weight heroes devise plan after plan to escape their surroundings. Stallone struggles with the explain-to-the-viewer dialogue due to his almost incomprehensive drawl, and Arnie seems fairly tired and a shadow of his former self … until he gets a moment where he lays waste to a slew of bad guys with a high powered machine gun … complete with a knowing grin.
I had fun with this. It’s clichéd, gets pretty silly at times, but retains an 80s vibe of daft plot, maximum action such movies cut their teeth on back in the day. Entertaining nonsense that’s worth your time if you were ever a fan of these guys.
Verdict: 3 /5