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Wednesday October 9, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday October 9, 2013 MYT 5:03:54 AM
by mumtaj begum
Twice the star power: Arnold Schwarzenegger (left) and Sylvester Stallone star as ageing prison inmates in 'Escape Plan'.
Age is not about to stop these two mucle-bound stars from rustling up some action in Escape Plan.
AFTER Arnold Schwarzenegger’s small role in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables films, it was only a matter of time before the two of them worked as equal headliners. After all, both competed within the same action-packed genre at one time. In Escape Plan, the two muscle-bound actors play inmates stuck in an off-the-book prison forced to work together if they are to escape.
In the film’s production notes, provided by film distributor GSC Movies, Stallone, 67, said: “Today’s audience is intelligent and demanding. You have to give them something unusual, like pairing Arnold and me. This is a film that I don’t think people are going to expect from us.
“We were on a parallel career course during what I would call the gold age of hardcore action films, but this is something new. It is not just guns, flames and bombs. Our characters really have to use their brains to get out.
“There’s a tremendous amount of action in it, but it is very much a thinking man’s adventure, and it plays into the mature part of our careers.”
Schwarzenegger, 66, added: “Sly and I were very competitive in the early days. It was always about who had the most cuts, the best muscle separation, the least amount of body fat, as well as who had the biggest guns and the biggest on-screen body count. This kind of competition was continuous. But we always appreciated each other’s talents.”
Directed by Mikael Håfström, Escape Plan sees Stallone as Ray Breslin, a security expert who is also the leading authority on prisons — he builds them, sets up the security and then tries to break out of them. One of his latest jobs sees him incarcerated in a high-security facility called The Tomb, which is a privately-run prison that adheres to Breslin’s stringent protocols.
He is paid top dollar to try and escape from it. However, once inside, Breslin discovers that he is trapped, as an unknown enemy has made sure there is no way out from The Tomb. Housing some of the world’s deadliest criminals, The Tomb’s maze of glass cells is run by a sadistic warden, Willard Hobbes (Jim Caviezel).
So now, Breslin has to find a like-minded detainee in a bid to escape and find the man responsible for putting him in there. Breslin finds exactly what he needs in Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger).
For director Håfström, the chance to work with two iconic action stars was definitely an attraction. This was further enhanced by the fact that the screenplay has a fresh take on the action genre.
According to the Swedish director, Escape Plan has a couple of twists that are going to surprise the audience, and that there is more than one layer to each character.
He said: “Sly’s character carries with him a dark past that is revealed during the film, and Arnold’s character has a lot of secrets in his back pocket. Watching these two characters get to know each other and reveal their history is what really drives the film. That, for me, was the main reason to dig into it.”
Stallone agreed that the story is believable and, yet, utterly unpredictable. “I have read so many scripts that I can pretty much see by Page 30 how the story is going to turn out. Reading this script, however, I never knew what was going to happen. By the time I got to the middle, I was flabbergasted. I didn’t see that coming.”
Everyone knows that a good action film has to have a really evil villain. In Escape Plan that role goes to Willard Hobbes, the warden with a penchant for torture, played by Jim Caviezel.
Like everyone else onboard, the actor – who can currently be seen on TV’s Person Of Interest – was excited about being part of the project because of the film’s main stars and a chance to create a different kind of villain. Caviezel theorised that Hobbes sees the prisoners as his children; and when they break one of his rules, he punishes them. Needless to say, Hobbes is not the sanest guy in The Tomb; seriously, who would choose to stay at a prison like this voluntarily?
But, in the end, the film belongs to the now-buddies, Stallone and Schwarzenegger. Producer Mark Canton surmised: “Sly and Arnold know what’s expected of them. They train for it. Most people half their age couldn’t do what they do and that’s the greatness of these two guys. It’s phenomenal to see two icons in the same scene. There’s a weight to it that you don’t often see.”
> Escape Plan opens in cinemas nationwide tomorrow.
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Entertainment, Movies, Escape Plan, Arnold Schwarzenneger, Sylvester Stallone
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