"OK, saw the movie and it was entertaining. Had a very retro feel, a sorta 80's take of an action/suspense thriller and appropriate humor spread throughout to lessen the tension and the dark nature of the flick, which is basically filmed in a prison 85 percent of the time. It wasn't very high tech as far as special effects and such, but was jargon specific and craftily smart in its reveals and explanations of escape and how Sly's thought process was throughout the film.
Some mild spoilers below so read at your own discretion
I thought Sly was nicely effective in his part and though it feels I've seen him play this type of role before, it still didn't damper the movie. I didn't truly buy his back story in the film as it wasn't really fully developed, the movie as a whole didn't really delve into much of the past of any of the characters as it sacrificed story to really move forward the plot.
Caviezel, played the warden, and was against type as he normally plays the guy you root for. He was a hard ass but a sort of intellectual one. You could see he was trying to get inside Sly's brain as they had this mental warfare game going on as he knew Stallone wanted to escape and he was trying to figure out his next move. His villain role was not one dimensional and he lifted what could have been your typical ruthless but brainless foe into one, who had layers of sadistic deceit equally matched with the cunning mind of the man he was trying to prevent from escaping.
Arnold was really the guy the audience seemed to react to. From his first appearance onscreen there were claps and he really had many of the funnier lines and situations. While Sly carried the load of the brunt work with all the mental and physical abuse he had to endure, Arnold played the sidekick of sorts and while I wouldn't say comic relief, he definitely brought the lighter side of things whenever he was onscreen. He also has a scene towards the end that brings back memories of his past hardcore roles, and you see it coming, and the audience appropriately reacted to it with hoots and hollers.
The rest of the cast had smaller roles and really didn't have time to flesh out their individual characters. Their all familiar names and were fine in their brief time just nothing as evident as the main 3.
The screening I saw was the very first one any audience has seen of this finished product. They said this is basically the one that's going to be shown in a few months minus some last minute enhancements in some of the very few special effects portions of the film. I'd give the film a 7.5 out of 10 as I enjoyed Sly and Arnold together, the cat and mouse game between the 3 main leads and really the throwback nature of the film. It had several LOL moments that come and go and a fight sequence between Sly and Arnold that really delivered in the action and humorous department as well. Some parts of the plot I didn't buy and some weren't really explained fully to my satisfaction. I can't divulge more for not wanting to spoil any secrets but some of the side characters and their motivations didn't make any sense, and as it was instrumental for such actions to be for escape to be successful, it seemed more far fetched than appropriate reasoning.
I'd definitely see it again to see if they altered any of the story in any way or listened to any of our feedback in our after movie survey. If they cleaned up some areas and eliminated any lingering questions that seemed unanswered I'd easily rate this movie higher. Feel free to ask me any questions and I'll try to answer without giving too much away. "
What is your top 5 Arnold & Sly movies? & where would you rank Escape Plan?
"Well, these 2 guys have been in the game for awhile and their roll sheet is long and noteworthy so making into their top 5 with this film isn't going to cut it.
My Sly 5:
I'd have Escape plan around 7 or 8, perhaps behind Rocky 4 and Cop Land
My Arnie 5:
4)Conan, The Destroyer
I'd put Escape Plan at 8 or 9 behind, Terminator 3, True Lies, and Red Heat."
Is the film likely to be r rated? I like prison flicks to be brutal and tense. For example I wouldn't be excited if the whole movie set in prison was tango and cash tone
"Yeah it has to be a R, unless they take out some of the killings and lessen the naughty language. The body count is pretty high and while there isn't a ton of blood, there's quite a few violent encounters and all out brawls. There is lots of humor spread throughout but its not like one liners every other scene. It flowed nicely and sprang up at appropriate times. It's a thinking man action flick that isn't all mindless violence, it was oftentimes a necessary evil to initiate mayhem in order to gain knowledge on their surroundings and how Caviezel and his men would respond."
Here is a little detail about the Sly vs Arnold fight (NO SPOILERS JUST DETAIL)
The Sly vs Arnold scene was pretty hilarious. It happens in the 1st half of the movie and if your a fan of both these guys, its something you've wanted to see since the 80's, these two big dudes squaring up. I won't tell you the context of why they face off but when we see them about to knuckle up, the crowd got pretty jacked up. It's short but effective and Arnie's last quip was probably the biggest laugh in the film.
Also do you think this will only appeal to fans of both men or to a wider audience?
"They get top billing but really feel its a 3 man dynamic, with Caviezel getting nearly as much time as Arnold. It's clearly Sly's vehicle because we follow his character from the start and he's the one with the know how, in studying his environment and implementing the action needed to initiate a plan of attack.
There are only 3 speaking woman parts in the film and one of those had like 2 lines or so. This is definitely a high testosterone, male dominated adventure movie that would appeal more to men and teenage boys. Some might want to see it because they have interest in the Sly/Arnold factor and or have a crush on Jim Caviezel but for the most part its kind of limited in their widespread appeal. I'm not sure how prison films do in general but that subject alone might alienate a certain amount of the viewing public.
This is a tricky film to market and maybe a reason why we haven't seen much chatter and or a trailer for this, is because they are still trying to figure out themselves what they have in their hands. It's a good flick, I was never bored and had plenty of surprises for the audience to ponder. Some things were left unsaid and or not broached at all and those things I had a slight problem with. I'd recommend the film to anyone and tell them its not a mindless summer action flick, but a smart deftly made thriller with lots of humor and suspense."
How much more screentime would you say Sly had then Arnold. Since we know Arnold doesn't appear before they enter the prison.
"Yes, its true Arnold doesn't make his 1st appearance probably 25 minutes into the film. But after that he and Sly were mostly together and Arnold does have this humorous interrogation scene with Caviezel, that had the audience rolling and as I mentioned a bad ass sequence towards the end where he pulls out vintage Arnold and does damage."
How many BIG action scenes overall?
"To be honest, there was really only 1 big long action sequence towards the end where the escape was in progress and their were guns a blazing and a huge explosion. Otherwise there was several skirmishes throughout and smaller scaled gun battles in the prison. This film was more a suspense/thriller than straight action/adventure. It had constraints being they were in close quarters throughout the movie, so big type action sequences could only occur once they were outside the restraints of their entrapment. But fighting and brawling was a constant, just not any special effects laden encounters until the end.
<How long would you say the movie was? More like 100-105 minutes or close to two hours? Also was there a big Escape Plan logo at the start of the movie? How did that go? Just say Stallone, Schwarzenegger the Escape Plan or something?>
The length I would say was about 2 hours or so. I couldn't really tell because they had everyone in the audience leave their phones in their car and since I use my phone for telling time I could only harness a guess.
The beginning of the film they just had the logo flash on real quick and it got to the story. No actors names till the end credits which I found odd and maybe they'll change later. It was troublesome for me because I wanted to see the actors listed but we were given surveys to fill out and it was hard to do both."
"I came into it being fans of all 3 main leads so they didn't disappoint. But if I had to choose it would be Arnold because he really had the funniest lines and situations and he was of the three, the most mysterious character. I would have loved to had seen all 3 of them in scenes together but unfortunately they only paired up with each other. A missed opportunity if you ask me."
Can you tell us more about 50 CENT? A few people (including myself) are concerned about his acting in the movie
"He neither adds or detracts from the film. His role isn't primary to the story as a whole so it shouldn't be given more significance either way. You shouldn't go see it thinking he's got a major role and you shouldn't not see it if you feel he'll lessen the movie."
"First of all, I really enjoyed the film. I'm going to keep calling it The Tomb, because Escape Plan sounds like a Cuba Gooding Jr. DTV to me. No offense Cuba. Anyway, the film was a pleasant surprise. It was smart, witty, charming, funny, suspenseful and thought-provoking. In terms of film quality, it was a step up for both Arnie & Sly. This film will show that both men can adapt to how films are made today. It also shows these guys have the brains to back up the brawn as well. That is what I like the most about this film; it held me in curiosity as opposed to waiting for the next punch or explosion. The movie is clearly NOT an "action" movie. It could be classified as an "action thriller" if I had to categorize. And overall, I think that is what Sly is most proud of when he spoke of the film on Twitter. The Tomb is a rare movie for both men, because both men are presented with new challenges as actors, and that is a reliance on the brain and mechanics of understanding one's situation/circumstances.
The story opens with Sly demonstrating why he is who he is. We get to see him "work". Then he is presented with the option for The Tomb, which he accepts and obviously gets himself into a situation. It's there that he meets Arnold's character and soon the men befriend each other. What Sly doesn't know is that Arnold has plans of his own. Both men work each other, while both work the system/warden. The chemistry all works; especially between Sly & Arnie. They play off each other very well when they're presented with real dialogue and real direction. Exactly the opposite with EX2. Both men are in fantastic shape and really hold their own candles here, while both sharing light equally the same.
My minor troubles with the film. The fight scenes, while there aren't many, were poorly shot. I would have preferred wide shots as opposed to quick and intrusive shots. However, it doesn't really deter from the story. Just a preference taste I suppose. I would have liked the ending shot to be a little more memorably but seemed to end abruptly. Other than that, I completely lost myself in the film and was pleasantly happy with the outcome. The film is rated R with some good F-bombs from both Sly & Arnie. There is some blood at play as well. There didn't seem to be any ghost-direction either which clearly shows in the dialogue and direction of the film."
We also have some news on when the long over due trailer for the film will be released. A fan recently emailed Lionsgate & got this responce:
"The trailer is planned to be attached to Red 2 on 7/19. The one sheet, once approved , should be in theatres on June 7th.
Richard M. Fay Lionsgate President Domestic Theatrical Distribution"
"The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Universal Pictures now has plans to reboot the franchise - without Van Damme's involvement. In the original, which was directed by Peter Hyams and based on the series from Dark Horse Comics, the martial artist starred as a police officer who regulates time travel in the future. A conflict arises when the officer discovers that a politician, played by Ron Silver, is using time travel to further his career. Reading the trade report it doesn't appear that anybody is involved yet on the creative side, but it does mention that the story will be "a re-imagining of the concept" and that they are currently looking for writers. Marc Shmuger (The Spectacular Now) and Tom McNulty (Date Night) are serving as producers."