The time finally came for the two biggest action stars to make a movie together. The year was 2013 and Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up to make an action/prison escape movie called Escape Plan. This is what a lot of us had always wanted for many years and the result was a good attempt at an R-rated action film with aging stars. There were some silly moments, one-liners, and some hectic fight scenes. While the story and plot isn't all together, the sheer fun and entertainment value of Escape Plan is worth the price of admission, even with its fun twist.
On 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, we have an excellent new Dolby Vision (and HDR10) graded transfer, a fully immersive new Dolby Atmos mix, and the same bonus features are included here as the previous release along with the Blu-ray and Digital Copy of the film. Recommended!
I counted six one-liners in the Stallone/Schwarzenegger film Escape Plan. I was hoping for more, and when it came to Schwarzenegger's big moment to deliver the goods, his one-liner was pretty lame, as is much of this action thriller that finally has the two biggest action stars of the 80s together at last. Now, before we get into the good and bad of this film, let us first discuss the director, Mikael Hafstrom, who also directed the John Cusack vehicle 1408. More interestingly, Hafstrom wrote a movie called Kopps, which you can see a brief snippet of by CLICKING HERE (it’s required viewing to proceed with the review).
It's one of the best scenes in movie history, and this is what we are more or less dealing with in Escape Plan, but less awesome. In what seems like reliving the glory days of the 80s action movies, we follow Ray Breslin (Stallone), whose job is to be secretly arrested and put in the highest security prisons in America under a fake name, and attempt to escape, exposing the facilities' weak points, so that the government can fix them. And he's damn good at it too. His record is 14-0.
He wrote a book on his work and is a partner in a company that specializes in this service. Ray's team tracks his every move and makes sure he is safe, even though they don't seem terribly plausible or real. The members include Amy Ryan, Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, and Vincent D'Onofrio. These characters are lifeless and could have been played by anyone. But when a strange young woman offers Ray and crew double their normal salary to have Ray incarcerated in a new off-the-grid beta prison system, Ray wakes up drugged, beaten, and trapped in this new prison.
This prison, which is large and full of multiple stories of glass boxes with masked guards always watching, is for the worst of the worst, where awful criminals don't stand trial but simply go to disappear. He soon enough meets Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), who takes an interest in Ray when he notices Ray observing guard routines and looking for any kinks in the system. After a fight between the two action stars, during which Schwarzenegger tells Stallone that he hits like a vegetarian, the two become pals and work together to escape, as it becomes clear that the Warden (Jim Caviezel) is working with someone close to Ray and aims to keep Ray in prison forever. With the Warden's righthand man (Vinnie Jones), who seemed to only sign up for guard duty to break some skulls, and a physician (Sam Neill), who is scared to help anyone for fear of his own life, Stallone and Schwarzenegger have their work cut out for them.
Escape Plan is a fun and entertaining film to a certain degree. I mean, it has our two favorite 80s action stars finally kicking butt together. The characters are one note, the dialogue is awfully bad, and the pacing is at times rough, but that being said, it’s great to see these two older actors still kicking butt and taking names. For the other actors in the film, besides Caviezel, they surely only showed up to be in a film with these two action stars and nothing more. But hey, it's still a very fun action flick.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Escape Plan comes with a dual-layered UHD66 Disc and a Blu-ray Disc. There is an insert for a Digital copy too. The discs are housed in a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
Escape Plan comes to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 2160p transfer and 2.39:1 aspect ratio. There was a lot to like about the Blu-ray version of the film a few years ago. This new 4K UHD transfer is certainly upgraded where it counts. Colors are bolder and brighter in almost every scene, yet since most of the film takes place inside a secret prison, the color scheme doesn't bask in primary colors all the time. There aren't even any orange jump suits really, but rather dull gray uniforms that blend in with the surrounding walls.
That being said, this new 4K UHD presentation with Dolby Vision and HDR10 completely helps the image distinguish each nuanced color in this dirty and pale color setting. The different blue and gray colors on the prison walls as with the prison uniforms pop more with the accented bright and blue lighting throughout. The stripes on the uniforms even look better this time around. When not in the prison setting, work attire is bright with primary colors as well as the office settings that show red and orange brick walls nicely. There are a few scenes where bright yellowish lights shine down on the actors, which have better amber colors than the previous release. Back levels are completely deep and inky and the skin tones are natural as they can be, given the heavy makeup the two action stars are in.
Detail is more vivid and sharper this time out too. The facial pores and stubble on both Stallone and Schwarzenegger can be easily seen as the rigged stitching in their prison uniforms. Wrinkles and makeup effects also show up easier here too. There isn't a ton of CGI effects here. Most of them were done practically, but when there is a CGI moment, this new 4K UHD transfer never allows the image to go soft, however, you'll be able to tell what effect is fake. It's a small price to pay here for a great transfer. The Dolby Vision does enhance all of the darker colors and really accents and differentiates them from one another, which is excellent. There were no issues with banding or video noise here, leaving this video presentation with great marks.
This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of Escape Plan features a new Dolby Atmos mix and only amplifies and strengthens the previous 7.1 mix on the Blu-ray. There are a ton of height effects here that all sound intense, loud, and well balanced. When in the big prison system, the reverb and echo sound very realistic and add to the whole environment of a massive structure. The voices of the prisoners all carry weight and heft very well too. Sound effects are robust and pack a punch with great directionality.
If there is a sound of a metal clink or a scream or yell from above, you'll hear it loud and clear with the proper spacing. Explosions and gunshots are all impressive as well, with added bass effects for maximum intensity. Ambient noises of inmate chatter and other cafeteria noises all sound full, which gives this audio mix a ton of depth. There are some great water sounds as well, which fully immerse you in hectic and chaotic scenarios.
Dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow, even with the action stars' unique delivery at times. The score always adds to the suspenseful and action sequences very well too. There isn't anything to complain about here.
All of the same extras from the previous Blu-ray are featured here:
Audio Commentary by Mikael Hafstrom and Miles Chapman - The director and writer of the film give a solid commentary with tons of information on the making of the film. It's not too lively or all that funny, but they discuss how they came up with the story, casting, and how they did some of the stunt work as well as different plot elements. If you're a fan of the film, then give this a listen.
Executing the Plan: The Making of Escape Plan (HD, 23 mins) - Here is a solid behind the scenes featurette that has interviews with cast and crew as well as some on-set footage on how they did some of the bigger scenes. In addition, we get some more information on how the story came together as well as some discussions on the two big action heroes.
Maximum Security: The Real-life Tomb (HD, 22 mins) - Here is a cool feature that has some experts tell us how real or fake the prison security systems are in the film, compared to real-life ones. They also talk about the design of the main prison facility in the movie. There are some kooky characters in this extra.
Clash of the Titans (HD, 16 mins) - This fun feature is all about Schwarzenegger and Stallone working together. It is entertaining and funny. They discuss on how they have always wanted to work together like this, and their work on 'The Expendables', as well as making an action movie at their age. It looked like they had a great time.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 9 mins) - There are 12 deleted scenes in total, which are all very short. None of them really offer a whole lot of depth or forwarding the story. In fact, these seem like extended scenes rather than deleted ones.
Trailers (HD, 6 mins) - Trailers for other movies.
Escape Plan was a dream come true for 80s action movies fans. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone had never starred in a movie together, and the results were a lot of fun, violent, and full of silly one-liners. While the story never held up, the two stars' wit and charm bring this movie home and make it worth your while.
The new 4K UHD Dolby Vision transfer and Dolby Atmos track are fantastic and enjoyable on every level. The same supplements that came with the previous release are included too, but no new extras. This comes Recommended.