Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a guy who breaks out of prisons for a living. Essentially, the government stashes him in a clink, and he breaks out to show them the weaknesses of their systems. The opening sequence of the film is a nifty little mini-movie as we watch him do just that in a handful of minutes.
When Ray and his partner Lester (Vincent D’Onofrio) start explaining to the warden how he escaped, and why, that’s when the film starts to feel like it’s talking down to its audience. The first of many “reveals” is telegraphed WAY too early. I won’t spoil any of them for any readers who enjoy “mystery”.
The next job is for an off-the-books CIA prison, with a huge payday. Ray accepts the gig (surprise!) and then he’s trapped without an evacuation code (surprise!). The warden of this one is a soft-spoken Jim Caviezel, with a lead goon played by a more-amped-up-than-usual Vinnie Jones.
Very quickly Ray befriends fellow inmate Emil (Schwarzenegger) and they begin to develop their… escape plan! (We have a title!)
The back and forth between the leads, the cleverness of Ray’s escapes, and the sheer weirdness of the prison (which, surprise, isn’t run by the government) are all fun to watch. The final action sequence was a little doofy, but not unreasonably so.
Where they got me was with the final reveal. After all of those “I know where this is going” moments, they threw me for a loop in the final couple of minutes. So I’ll give them kudos for that.
Fans of either of the stars (or of the criminally underused Sam Neill and Faran Tahir) will probably enjoy this film.