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Stallone, Schwarzenegger 'Escape' to semblance of their former glory years

| Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Summit Entertainment
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone in 'Escape Plan'

Stallone was always a better actor than Schwarzenegger. That burning question, for those old enough to have asked it and deluded enough to have never figured it out, is answered once and for all in “Escape Plan,” a vintage prison-escape movie in the classic Sly and/or Arnold mold.

They're both in it, both locked up and both looking for a way out of a super prison that has all the escape-proof conveniences that private enterprise can cook up. The old pros hit their marks, and each other. They spill some blood and have theirs spilled.

Stallone plays Ray Breslin. “I break out of prisons for a living.”

He co-owns a security company. He's inserted into prisons, which he then breaks out of so that he can teach the feds how to make their prisons more escape-proof.

His new challenge is a super-secure “secret” prison set up for the CIA and run by private contractors. It's a place for terrorists and their ilk, people who need to disappear. Ray goes in, but his team (Amy Ryan and the rapper 50 Cent) have their safeguards in place. Only they're foiled.

In the cavernous new prison, there's no sunlight. Cells are all glass, the guards wear black storm-trooper suits and sci-fi facemasks. Solitary confinement is a cell with blinding high-intensity lights. And the warden (a whispering Jim Caviezel, pretty good) is a fastidious fussbudget who collects butterflies, constantly checks his suit and tie and has just a hint of sadism about him.

The tempered violence, the nature of the villains, the easy bonhomie of our leads and a cast peppered with great supporting players make “Escape Plan” go down easier than the other “Rambo,”/“Last Man Standing”/“Expendables” pictures that brought these two aged action stars back from the dead.

Roger Moore is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

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