Escape Plan (film)

Escape Plan
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mikael Håfström
Produced by
Screenplay by Miles Chapman
Arnell Jesko
Story by Miles Chapman
Music by Alex Heffes
Cinematography Brendan Galvin
Edited by Elliot Greenberg
Atmosphere Entertainment
Emmett/Furla Films
Envision Entertainment
Boies/Schiller Film Group
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
Release date
  • July 18, 2013 (2013-07-18) (SDCC[1])
  • October 18, 2013 (2013-10-18) (United States[2])
Running time
115 minutes[3]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $54 million[4]
Box office $137.3 million[5]

Escape Plan[6][7] is a 2013 American action thriller film starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and co-starring Jim Caviezel, 50 Cent, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio and Amy Ryan.[8] Directed by Swedish filmmaker Mikael Håfström, and written by Miles Chapman and Jason Keller (under the anagram pen-name 'Arnell Jesko').[9] The first film to pair up action film icons Stallone and Schwarzenegger as co-leads,[10] it follows Stallone's character Ray Breslin, a structural engineer who is incarcerated in the world's most secret and secure prison, aided in his escape by fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger).

The film was released in the United States on October 18, 2013, received mixed reviews and grossed $137 million worldwide against a $54 million budget.


Ray Breslin is a former prosecutor who co-owns Breslin-Clark, a Los Angeles–based security firm specializing in testing the reliability of maximum security prisons. He spends his life getting into prisons to study their designs and the guards' habits to find and exploit their weaknesses, thus enabling him to escape without a hitch or a victim. His goal is to ensure that criminals sent to prison stay inside by eliminating the weakness of every prison; Breslin's wife and child were murdered by an escaped convict he had successfully prosecuted.

Breslin and his business partner Lester Clark are offered a multimillion-dollar deal by CIA lawyer Jessica Mayer to test a top-secret, off-grid prison housing disappeared persons and see if it is escape-proof. However, this time around, he and his colleagues are not allowed to know where the prison is, as this helps minimize the risk of outside help when escaping. Breslin goes against all his own rules and agrees to the deal, allowing himself to be captured in New Orleans, Louisiana, under the guise of a Spanish terrorist named "Anthony Portos." However, the plan goes awry when his captors remove a tracking microchip from his arm and drug him on the way to the prison, which stops his colleagues from knowing where he has been taken.

Breslin wakes up in a complex of glass cells with no outside windows to indicate the prison's location. He discovers that he has been played when he realizes the warden is not the one he is supposed to meet. He meets fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer, who works for a man named Victor Mannheim who is portrayed as a modern-day Robin Hood. The duo stage a fight for Breslin to study the solitary confinement cell, which uses high-powered halogen lights to disorient and dehydrate prisoners. Seeing that the cell floors have rivets that are made of steel instead of moisture-resistant aluminium, Breslin has Rottmayer acquire a metal plate from Warden Hobbes's office floor, before the two of them and Muslim inmate Javed are once again thrown into confinement. Using the metal plate, Breslin focuses the reflection from the lights to heat the steel around the rivets, shearing the rivets when the steel expands, and pops open the floor panel to reveal a passageway below. He discovers that the prison is inside a super freighter cargo ship in the middle of the ocean, making a simple escape impossible. Breslin and Rottmayer continue to study the complex by learning the guards' daily routines. However, Hobbes reveals to Breslin that he is aware of his identity, and with chief security officer Drake watching him, he wants to ensure that Breslin spends the rest of his life in prison. Breslin offers Hobbes information on Mannheim from Rottmayer in exchange for being released; Hobbes agrees.

Breslin feeds Hobbes false information about Mannheim. Meanwhile, Breslin's colleagues Abigail Ross and Hush grow suspicious of Clark when Breslin's paycheck for the job is frozen. They discover from hacked documents that the prison, codenamed "The Tomb," is owned by a for-profit organization linked to a privately owned security provider. Meanwhile, Clark is in contact with Hobbes about keeping Breslin imprisoned. Rottmayer has Javed convince Hobbes that he is double crossing them, and as payment he only wants to be allowed up on deck to do his nightly prayer. While on deck, Javed uses a makeshift sextant to determine the ship's latitude. Using the latitude and weather, Breslin and Rottmayer deduce that they are in the Atlantic Ocean near Morocco. Breslin visits the infirmary of Dr. Kyrie and convinces him to help him and Rottmayer escape by sending an email to Mannheim. Breslin then transmits a false tap code message from his cell, giving Hobbes the impression that a riot will occur in cell block C. With the majority of the security stationed at cell block C, Javed instigates a riot at cell block A, giving him, Breslin, and Rottmayer time to run toward the deck while a lockdown is initiated. Breslin kills Drake, but Javed is shot dead by Hobbes and his men during their escape. Breslin goes to the engine room to shut down the electrical systems, giving Rottmayer time to open the deck hatch before the backup generators come online while a helicopter sent by Mannheim engages in a gunfight with the ship's crew. Rottmayer boards the helicopter while Breslin is flushed to the bottom of the ship by the automated water system when Hobbes has the main electrical system rebooted. The helicopter picks up Breslin, but when Hobbes starts shooting at them, Breslin kills the warden by shooting and blowing up a group of oil barrels.

They land on a beach in Morocco, where Rottmayer reveals that he is actually Mannheim, Mayer is his daughter, "Portos" was a codeword used to alert Mannheim that Breslin was an ally, and Hobbes was originally unaware that Breslin's cover story was fake. Later, Ross informs Breslin that they discovered Clark was offered a $5 million annual salary to become CEO of the security company, should Breslin's imprisonment prove that the ship is escape-proof. Clark had fled, but Hush tracked him in Miami, and locked him in a container aboard an MSC cargo ship bound for an unknown destination.



Early reports in 2011 speculated that Bruce Willis was cast as Ray Breslin.[11][12][13] It was revealed by producer Mark Canton on The Matthew Aaron Show that Jim Caviezel had signed on to the film, playing the prison warden Hobbes.[14]

British actor Vinnie Jones signed on to co-star as Drake, the ruthless prison guard.[15]

Variety and other media in the news stated that Amy Ryan, Vincent D'Onofrio, and 50 Cent had joined the cast of Escape Plan.[16][17] It was confirmed in mid-April that 50 Cent would play the computer expert who was once incarcerated for cyber crimes helping Breslin's character escape, D'Onofrio would play the deputy director of the high-tech prison, and Ryan would play Stallone's business partner and his potential love interest.[18]


In an interview with the British newspaper The Sun, Vinnie Jones stated that the film was to shoot April 16 to June 23 in New Orleans.[19] Shooting for Escape Plan was also confirmed to take place in Louisiana in the spring of 2012. In August 2012, at The Expendables 2 conference, Arnold Schwarzenegger commented on the film and stated that filming had finished.[20]

On April 9, 2013, it was officially announced that the film had been pushed back to a September 13, 2013 release and the film's title had been changed from The Tomb to Escape Plan.[21] It was eventually released on October 18, 2013.

On June 27, 2013, a debut trailer of Escape Plan was released through the gaming website IGN.


Box office

The film underperformed at the U.S. box office, debuting at number four on the box office chart with $9.89 million from 2,883 theaters and ultimately grossing only $25.1 million domestically. However, Escape Plan was an international box-office success, debuting at first place in several Asian and European markets, with the total international gross more than doubling its $50 million budget at $112.2 million, totaling up to a worldwide gross of $137.3 million.[5]

Critical response

Escape Plan was met with mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 50%, based on reviews from 107 critics. The site's critical consensus states: "As much fun as it is to see Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger team up onscreen, Escape Plan fails to offer much more than a pale imitation of 1980s popcorn thrills."[22] Metacritic gives the film a score of 49 out of 100, based on 33 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[23]

Tom Huddleston of Time Out London gave the film two out of five stars, commenting that the film "would have made a perfect vehicle for, say, a Chuck Norris or even a Jean-Claude Van Damme. But these two redoubtable, enormously watchable old-school heroes deserve better."[24] Ben Rawson-Jones of Digital Spy gave the film four out of five stars, commenting that it "defies those who wrote off the abilities of its stars to cut the muscular mustard in today's youth-orientated cultural climate. These supposedly old dogs have plenty of life—but their effectiveness relies on the foundation of a smart script that plays to their strengths and the audience's perception of their star personas."[25] Neil Genzlinger of The New York Times said in his review: "Mikael Hafstrom, the director, pushes the suspense buttons efficiently, and the plot twists are disguised well enough for the not-very-demanding crowd this film will draw. The scenes with Mr. Stallone and Mr. Schwarzenegger are a little disappointing — it's their first pairing as top-billed co-stars, yet the script never gives them the kind of memorable exchange that makes fans howl with delight. But all in all, Escape Plan does what it sets out to do."[26]


In February 2017, it was announced that a sequel is currently in development with Stallone confirmed to reprise his role as Ray Breslin. In the same report it was revealed that Steven C. Miller will direct the film, with Miles Chapman returning as screenwriter.[27] Dave Bautista, 50 Cent, and Jaime King have also been cast in the film.[28] In March 2017, the official title was announced as Escape Plan 2: Hades.

In April 2017, a third film entered the early stages of development with Stallone again signed on to reprise his role as Ray Breslin.[29] Titled Escape Plan 3: Devil's Station, the film, in pre-production, is casting and "In this installment, the daughter of a Hong Kong tech executive goes missing in what appears to be a routine ransom job. As Breslin (Stallone) and his crew delve deeper, they discover the culprit is the deranged son of one of their former foes, who also kidnapped Breslin's love and is holding her inside the massive prison known as Devil's Station."[30]

See also

  • Lock Up, another Sylvester Stallone movie set in a prison


  1. "Stallone, Schwarzenegger in a high-octane action-thriller". The Philippine Star. October 9, 2013. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  2. Niall Murphy. "First trailer for Mikael Håfström's Escape Plan". Scannain. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  3. "Escape Plan (15)". E1 Films. British Board of Film Classification. October 1, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  4. 2013 Feature Film Study (PDF) (Report). FilmL.A. Inc. p. 11. Retrieved January 2, 2017 via The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. 1 2 Escape Plan at Box Office Mojo
  6. "Release Date Roundup: FilmDistrict's 'Walk Of Shame'; Summit's 'Escape Plan'". January 30, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  7. "Arnold and Sly's The Tomb has a new title!". Moviehole. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  8. Barnes, Henry (February 9, 2012). "Schwarzenegger and Stallone join forces for The Tomb". The Guardian. London.
  9. Gorber, Jason (October 18, 2013). "Review: Escape Plan Is Escapist Fun". Twitch Film.
  10. Lipp, Chaz (October 18, 2013). "Movie Review: Escape Plan". Cinema Lowdown.
  11. Weintraub, Steve. "Bruce Willis to Star in Prison Escape Drama THE TOMB for Director Antoine Fuqua and Summit Entertainment". Collider. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  12. Landy, Ben (May 27, 2010). "Bruce Willis To Star In 'The Tomb'". Hollywood.
  13. Miller, Ross. "Bruce Willis In Talks For Prison Escape Drama 'The Tomb'". Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  14. White, James (February 21, 2012). "Jim Caviezel Enters The Tomb". Empire Magazine Online.
  15. "Vinnie Jones Confirmed For The Tomb". Expendables Premiere. March 23, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  16. Sneider, Jeff; Kroll, Justin (April 4, 2012). "D'Onofrio, 50 Cent enter 'The Tomb': Amy Ryan, Vinnie Jones also join Summit actioner". Variety.
  17. Chitwood, Adam (April 4, 2012). "Amy Ryan, Vincent D'Onofrio, Vinnie Jones and 50 Cent Join The Tomb". Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  18. Chitwood, Adam (April 9, 2012). "50 Cent Joins Stallone, Schwarzenegger in 'The Tomb'". EURweb. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  19. kauri (February 17, 2012). "Stallone and Schwarzenegger headed to New Orleans for 'The Tomb'". Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  20. Associated Press (May 8, 2012). "Schwarzenegger joins Stallone in 'The Tomb'". Baton Rouge, LA: The Advocate. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  21. "The Tomb is Now The Escape Plan". Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  22. Escape Plan at Rotten Tomatoes
  23. Escape Plan at Metacritic
  24. Huddleston, Tom (October 15, 2013). "Escape Plan". Time Out London. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  25. Rawson-Jones, Ben (October 14, 2013). "'Escape Plan' review: "Arnie and Sly rescue geriaction genre"". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  26. Genzlinger, Neil (October 18, 2013). "Behind Bars, Where Anything Goes - Schwarzenegger and Stallone Star in Escape Plan". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  28. Pedersen, Erik. "Jaime King & Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson Break Into 'Escape Plan 2'". Deadline. Retrieved 11 March 2017.
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