starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, Sam Neill, Vinnie Jones, Faran Tahir, Amy Ryan and Vincent D’Onofrio
screenplay by Miles Chapman and Arnell Jesko
directed by Mikael Håfström
This was a good action movie. I liked it. It is only the second film I have seen starring Arnold Schwarzenegger since he returned to film after retiring from California politics. He appeared as an extra in the Sylvester Stallone’s Expendable movies, then he released his first starring role after politics, The Last Stand, which I saw.
Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a former attorney who now works as a prison security consultant. Basically, he is sent to prison as an inmate with an assumed identity and he searches for any and all security breaches he can find. Ultimately he exposes the weaknesses by escaping from prison. Only then are the various wardens informed of his true identity. It sounds like dangerous work.
Then the ultimate job comes along, working as a subcontractor for the CIA supposedly to test their new Ultimate Prison, a holding facility for terrorists that has to be escape-proof. It’s the kind of place designed to hold terrorists forever without trial. Sort of like the contemporary Guantanimo Prison Camp X in Cuba.
The problem is that Breslin’s business partner, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, double-crosses him. He arranges for Breslin to be eaten alive by the system by deleting his true identity and extraction protocols. So now the prison thinks he really is a terrorist. Naturally all the other terrorists are highly intelligent men, and when you put so many highly intelligent people together they soon start hatching ingenious escape plans, despite the environment being the most tightly controlled prison ever built. Breslin is a man with a mission. He quickly teams up with Arnold Schwarzenegger, a terrorist with powerful connections on the outside. Communicating with the outside is a problem in a facility like this, but it is eventually done through the prison doctor, played by Sam Neill.
Schwarzenegger delivers a couple minutes of uninterrupted German from an isolation cell where he is sent as punishment for brawling. It’s really nice to hear ethnic actors speaking their mother tongue. I liked it.
Schwarzenegger and Stallone are a couple of old action stars still going at it. They’re pretty buff for their age, but let’s face it, it’s not the 1980s anymore. When the two meet in prison they quickly exchange,
“You don’t look that smart.”
"You don’t, either.”
It’s the kind of friendly insult that only hints at a universe of experience that fans who have followed their careers understand. I know some young foreigners here in Tokyo who are so young they just don’t know very much. They are college educated people but they don’t read newspapers. They don’t watch movies. Their knowledge of music is fairly small, I think, and it’s difficult to talk to them. They know who Schwarzenegger and Stallone are, but that’s all. They don’t know anything about their careers. They don’t know any American presidents before George Bush. They don’t know exactly where Iraq is. They think Marilyn Monroe is Marilyn Manson’s mother.
I think in one film after another Schwarzenegger is looking for a new catch phrase to replace the iconic “I’ll be back.” This time it’s “Have a lovely day, asshole.