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Non-Review Review: Escape Plan

Escape Plan doesn’t demand too much. It doesn’t demand too much from its lead actors, and it doesn’t demand too much from its audience. A film about watching two of the biggest action stars of the eighties teaming up should be a celebratory occasion – a trip down memory lane, one last go-around for old time’s sake as we watch this dynamic duo escape a mysterious “off the grid” prison which seems quite like the place I imagined all eighties action stars go in the end.

Instead, Escape Plan feels like the middle section of John Woo’s Face/Off extended out to a two-hour feature film, the story of a man who shouldn’t be in prison forced to escape from a futuristic science-fiction gulag through a series of overly-elaborate action set-pieces. There is, quite frankly, not enough here to support the movie’s extended runtime, with the script never daring to swerve sharply away from expectations or clichés. Escape Plan delivers exactly what the premise promises, but nothing more and never with anything approaching enthusiasm.

Old-timer hard-timers...

Old-timer hard-timers…

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Non-Review Review: The Fighter

The Fighter comes from a long line of Oscar-friendly boxing films. From Rocky through to The Cinderella Man to Raging Bull and beyond, filmmakers seem to see something poetic in the boxer. A figure in the ring, usually from a disadvantaged background, fighting because it’s the only thing that they know what to do. There’s a noble simplicity to the sport, a brutal honest that one seldom finds in football (American or otherwise), basketball or baseball. There’s always something touching about watching a protagonist beat the odds, and boxing films thrive on the literal nature of their conflict. I can’t say that The Fighter adds anything new to the long established “Oscar boxing film”, but it does have one advantage: the sheer volume of talent in its corner.

How does it measure up?

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