Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 in Shit: Escape Plan

Escape Plan is a Stallone & Schwarzenegger film that's about Fuck Blackwater. It's pretty amazing.

I wanted to see it for two reasons; the first was how much I enjoyed The Last Stand, and the second was the shot in the trailer where they show the underground prison. That shit's some real impressive architecture.

Also kind of funny to me was that Schwarzenegger's two films from 2013 were by a Korean and a Swedish director; I don't know much about the history of directors he has worked with but it's kind of surprising that his post-Governor films wouldn't be all Hoo-Rah about that shit.

So: it's a movie in which Sylvester Stallone plays a dude who breaks out of prisons for a living, to discover their structural weaknesses. He gets a real lucrative job, which turns out to be a con and is locked in some place called "The Tomb," where he meets Schwarzenegger, who apparently knows something about a terrorist dude or something, and they make a break for it. Only then they discover that The Tomb is actually a giant fucking boat and they're fucked, so they make a sextant and Schwarzenegger calls in a favor from Morocco and the libertarian prison boat paradise gets fucking shot the fuck up and they take off. Then they bounce and Schwarzenegger is like "PS I'm actually that terrorist dude they were looking for, I'm out" and they part ways. Then I think Stallone gets laid or something? Plus his boss gets hunted down because he sold them out and locked in a shipping container, in a bizarre critique of globalized capital (probably).

If I've never been a huge fan of Schwarzenegger prior to this year, my knowledge of Stallone is basically nonexistent. Browsing IMDb, I'm fairly certain the only film I've seen that he's participated in is Antz. Definitely never seen any Rocky or Rambo films. And honestly he wasn't all that great in this, although there were some moments. But then Schwarzenegger had the best one and Faran Tahir had the second best, so.

The best scene, uncontestably, being the one where Schwarzenegger, trapped in The Tomb's version of solitary (a small cube with a ton of sunlamps; the cells themselves are all glass boxes, so the relationship with solitary in this fake prison is a little different, I think), needs to provide a distraction for Stallone, and so he starts ranting. It's kind of neat, and then all of a sudden he's reciting the Lord's Prayer in German, and it's going on and on and you're aggressively seeing Arnold Fucking Schwarzenegger be nationally othered in a way that his whole career has kind of played with but (to my spotty knowledge) never outright acknowledged, and he's fucking acting too, like really getting into it, and it's great and fucking holy fuck what the fuck.

The second best is seeing President Patil go down guns blazing during the escape attempt; the use of Tahir in the film is, uh, pretty weird, but on the whole (as far as my obviously not very good assessment goes) surprisingly not awful. And of course he dies, but he goes out killing goons, in a surprisingly cool way, which I dug.

Is it obvious yet that I haven't really gotten any better at talking about action films since last year? I think it's pretty obvious. I definitely saved this Schwarzenegger weekend thing for near the end because I was like "I'm going to write huge fucking essays about these because they were so good and I want to really get into it" but turns out that I'm just burnt the fuck out and incapable of doing that to begin with so I'm just like fuck it see these fucking movies or something maybe we can chat about them that'd be sweet.

The Fuck Blackwater thing is pretty explicit, by the way; the movie outright says that the people who run The Tomb are affiliated with the organization that used to be known as Blackwater. The fact that, once they split with direct ties to governmental organizations, they get by briefly until they fuck up and get drawn into conflict with the global black market, at which point they get fucking trounced, seems like a pretty accurate prediction of one way the world might go.

The other thing about this movie is that it kind of seems a lot like Oldboy, in its exploration of violence within privatized prison systems. Kind of better than the remake in that sense, actually. It might be worthwhile to do a comparative analysis of the three. So go on and do it?

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