Mini-Reviews: Escape Plan, The Fifth Estate

Escape Plan:

We’ve been granted a reprieve from the “I’m too old for this” action genre, at long last. Escape Plan brings us our action heroes of the eighties, Stallone and Schwarzenegger, but it bucks the trend of presenting them as they are, instead giving them actual characters to play and a plot with actual stakes. I love a brainless shoot-em-up as much as the next guy, but there’s something thrilling about watching Sly and Arnold tell a story. Ray Breslin (Stallone) breaks out of jails for a living, and his newest client betrays him, leaving him with only one new ally, Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), in the most inescapable prison ever made. The action is surprisingly limited, opting instead for a slow build in tension, which feels underwhelming in the middle, but it makes the finale action set piece all the more rewarding. Our iconic stars are surrounded by trustworthy character actors who liven the proceedings, like Vincent D’Onofrio, Faran Tahir, and Vinnie Jones. Plus, our villain here is, thankfully, Jim Caviezel, who gleefully chews the scenery like a young Gary Oldman; an action flick is only as good as its hammy bad guy, and this one boasts the creme de la creme. It’s all very silly, of course– but when Stallone drops one-liners on the warden, or when Arnold turns around in slow motion with a giant gun, you’ll feel the comfort of seeing these icons right at home, where they belong.

The Fifth Estate:

Why isn’t Julian Assange a more compelling cinematic subject? One would think with all of the covert operations, the jet-setting between countries, the government spies, and the egomaniacal revolutionary personality, there would be a film in there with the bare minimum amount of intrigue necessary to craft a decent motion picture. Sadly, The Fifth Estate made me question that mode of thought, as Bill Condon’s film is lacking in imagination and character, instead drifting sans tempo from event to event in typical mediocre biopic fashion. The best biopics understand that they need to give their characters time to breathe and establish themselves to the audience, but due to time restrictions, biopics often feel like we get the Cliffs Notes of the major events in a character’s life without ever allowing said character to become flesh and blood. Such is the case with The Fifth Estate, wasting a terrific Benedict Cumberbatch impression and young talented actors like Daniel Bruhl and Alicia Vikander– Vikander is the ultimate victim, relegated to the cliched role of “disapproving girlfriend.” Even well-known character actors like Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie, and Stanley Tucci show up to play government officials and make absolutely no imprint on the story as characters. Assange is an endlessly fascinating human being. Perhaps one day he will get the motion picture that he deserves. The Fifth Estate isn’t it– it’s not even close.

~ by russellhainline on November 2, 2013.

2 Responses to “Mini-Reviews: Escape Plan, The Fifth Estate”

  1. It’s good to see we share the same sentiment about The Fifth Estate. I currently have it in my top three biggest disappointments of the year. I can’t believe how bad it was

  2. I’ve been looking for Young Girlfriend Passwords 2009

    Finally found it …,1,43,0

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