Escape Plan (2013)
During the 80s and 90s, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger were action movie kings. However, up until recent years, they had never made a movie together.
I watched Stallone being interviewed by David Letterman the other day, and Stallone revealed that he and Schwarzenegger used to absolutely hate each other. They would always have to one-up each other. Now, I’m thinking, wouldn’t it have been great if at some point when the two actors were enemies, they actually played enemies on screen. People definitely would have paid to see that. I know I would have.
Something must have helped Stallone and Schwarzenegger resolve their differences because Escape Plan is the third movie that they have made together in the last three years, and the fourth one is on the way in 2014.
Escape Plan is about a prison escape artist (Sylvester Stallone) who has made a career breaking out of maximum security prisons all over the US. One day, he gets a job offer that he cannot refuse that lands him in a prison that was built using a book that he had written as a guide to building escape-proof prisons.
The film was directed by Mikael Hafstrom and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Amy Ryan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vinnie Jones, Matt Gerald, Faran Tahir, Sam Neill, Caitriona Balfe, and 50 Cent.
Earlier this year, Stallone and Schwarzenegger both proved that they can still be action heroes, even in their upper 60s. Stallone did it in Bullet to the Head (2012) and Schwarzenegger did it in The Last Stand (2013). Escape Plan was better than each of those movies. Each actor looked better physically, and they both carried themselves very well. Maybe it was because they were both in the film together and they continued to try to outdo each other again. Whatever it was, it worked.
Escape Plan exceeded my expectations. The movie was a welcome, unpredictable surprise. It had a lot of original ideas mixed with a few classics, for old time sake.
Caviezel and Jones had very fun supporting roles. 50 Cent somehow manages to keep weaseling his way into films, and I swear that he is always trying to ruin them. He was terrible, as usual.
It was delightful to see Sly and Ahnuld cracking skulls in the same movie. If you were ever a fan of their movies in the past, you won’t be able to help but like this movie.
I rate this movie an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
The Frozen Ground (2013)
Nicolas Cage and John Cusack have both been pretty much hit or miss for about the last 6 years. Oddly enough, their downfall started around the same time. I have been a huge fan of both actors ever since I can remember. Even though they are both not consistently in great movies any longer, I still give them the benefit of the doubt every time I watch one of their new movies. I guess I just hope that one day they will bounce back from whatever funk they got themselves into and start making great movies again. One can always hope right?
So, that is the attitude that I had before watching The Frozen Ground. I would have been less enthusiastic about wanting to see the movie if it was only Cage or Cusack in it. But, it’s not just Cage or Cusack, it’s both. If both of these struggling actors are in the same movie then it is bound to be awesome right?
The film is based on actual events that took place in 1983. It’s about an Alaska State trooper who teams up with a woman who was able to get away from a serial killer named Robert Hansen. Together the duo works to find Hansen and bring him to justice for the murders that he has committed.
The Frozen Ground has an overall dark tone which is fitting because of the dark subject matter.
The movie was missing a lot. It was hard to follow and full of wasted talent. There was hardly any character development, so you couldn’t really feel anything for the characters.
It is yet another letdown from Cage and Cusack. The list of bad movies that each actor continues to make just keeps getting longer.
It really felt like both Cage and Cusack were just going through the motions. However, the writing and filmmaking overall, really did nothing to help their cause. Occasionally both actors would show a slight spark that would quickly go out. I think that if they keep making movies like this one, their careers could be doomed. It’s a real shame.
The film started out like it could have potential, and then it got boring quickly. The scenes were choppy and the acting and dialogue all felt forced.
Don’t waste your time or money with The Frozen Ground. If you would like to try to preserve the memory of when Nicolas Cage and John Cusack both made good movies, don’t watch this one.
I rate this movie a 3 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Run.