Escape Plan (2013)

ESCAPE PLAN

Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) and his business partner Lester Clark (Vincent D’Onofrio) run a company which tests prisons all across America. Ray is put into various prisons and exposes their weaknesses and escapes, thus helping future prisons to be designed so that they are escape proof. Ray is asked by the CIA to test out a new super max prison. The prison is designed to hold the most dangerous terrorists still waiting to be interrogated by the government.

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Ray agrees to take the job,and within a day is bound and gagged to be transported to the new prison. There Ray meets the sadistic Warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel), who duly informs Ray that he will not be leaving the prison. Ray is told that someone has paid good money to ensure he never sees the light of day again. Whilst in prison, Ray meets a man called Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who tells Ray that Hobbes has been keeping him in prison as Rottmayer has information on the whereabouts of someone who could rock the financial world.

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Together Ray and Rottmayer hatch a plan to escape the prison. Seeking the help of other prisoners and the prison doctor, Dr. Kyrie (Sam Neill), they come up with a way to escape and bring the prison down. There are bit parts for Vinnie Jones who plays a sadistic prison guard, and also Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson who plays a computer tech, looking to help find out where Ray has been taken. The story is not nearly as ingenious as it thinks it is. It has some clever moments, like when Ray escapes the prison at the start of the movie, but for the most part it feels very tame. Arnie is still finding his feet after being out of the acting game for so long, and looks uncomfortable in some scenes. Stallone is also a bit wooden, but it’s Stallone so he gets a pass. Jim Caviezel is wonderfully as the hammy almost camp Warden Hobbes. He delivers his lines with understated menace and seems to be having a blast.

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Folks like 50 Cent and Vincent D’Onofrio feel wasted in the small roles they have, and don’t really have much to do. There is also the obligatory scene in which Arnie holds a massive machine gun, which happens so often it feels like it’s a clause in his contract. The action is so-so, but the setting means there’s not as much as you’d expect when two action titans meet. Overall however it is worth a watch, and is perfect beer and pizza fodder.

3/5

JM

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In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

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My second John Carpenter review brings us to this under-looked gem from 1994. The opening credits music is quite possibly one of the most bad ass fucking pieces of music ever. It’s music that seems like it belongs in a totally different movie. Check it out on YouTube and see why. Kicking things off we find John Trent (Sam Neill) being committed to a mental institution, despite protests from him that he’s not crazy. Soon after Dr. Wrenn (David Warner) stops by John’s padded cell to speak to him. Upon entering he finds the room, and John, covered in strange markings. John begins to tell Dr. Wrenn how he ended up in a mental institute all began when he was asked to look for a missing writer called Sutter Cane (Jurgen Prochnow).

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Strange things have been happening in town and some people seem to think that it’s the writings of Sutter Cane that are responsible, only he’s nowhere to be found. People are being murdered and seem to be going crazy after reading the books by Cane. John Trent is asked by Cane’s publisher Jackson Harglow (Charlton Heston), to track down Cane and bring him back. Trent is accompanied by Linda Styles (Julie Carmen) in tracking down Cane. The investigation into Cane’s whereabouts bring John and Linda to a town called Hobbes End, which just so happens to be straight out of Cane’s novels. Finding the town almost empty, John and Linda find out what has happened to Cane, and what will soon happen to the rest of the world.

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Cane has been chosen to usher forth the ‘Old Ones’, beings that lived long before humans ever walked the Earth. However bringing them back will not bode well for humankind. This is another one of my favourite John Carpenter films. To be fair to Carpenter, the only film of his I wasn’t keen on was ‘Ghosts of Mars’. Yes I am one of those people who liked ‘Escape From L.A.’ believe it or not. This has a lot going for it too. It has a great cast, great script and brilliant direction from Carpenter. The storyline borrows some bits from H.P. Lovecraft lore which only helps the film in my opinion.

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It’s another one that I recommend to people when I get the chance. I know many haven’t heard of it, and it is also one I will have to import from Germany if I want the blu ray. Sadly there is not even a UK release of this on DVD, so it will require importing, I’d recommend Amazon.de as your first port of call. If you haven’t seen it then track it down, I think you’ll like it.

4/5

JM

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Event Horizon (1997)

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This film is fantastic. Let me just stress that right now. Paul WS Anderson has never, until this day, made a better movie. I don’t think it’s a fluke. The guy has some talent, but instead decides to waste it on the terrible Resident Evil films. Which is a shame, because here he shows a real flair for building suspense. 

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 When a research ship called the ‘Event Horizon’ returns after being missing for 7 years, it’s up to the crew of the Lewis & Clark to find out where it has been, and what it’s brought back with it. 

Event Horizon has got to be one of my favourite horror movies, if not my number 1 horror of all time. Sure people can say A Nightmare on Elm Street or Hellraiser are better, but it’s all about preference. For me Event Horizon hits all the right notes. To begin with its cast is great. Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill are awesome as Captain Miller and Dr. Weir respectively. The supporting cast of Jason Isaacs, Kathleen Quinlan, Sean Pertwee, Richard T Jones, Joley Richardson and Jack Noseworthy are all brilliant too. Nobody feels like a spare wheel, and everyone has a part to play in the telling of the story. The story itself takes its time. Leaving more to your imagination, it is a haunted house style movie that doesn’t rely on jump scares. For me, real horror is something that builds up, and really gets under your skin. Now I’m not saying I don’t jump at jump scares, because I do, but to me it’s a cheap tactic to elicit fear. I’d rather watch something that makes me cringe and feel uncomfortable. That mentally puts me in a place I’d rather not be. That’s real horror. A lot, if not all, is down to the fantastic script by Philip Eisner. He has created a ship in the Event Horizon, that takes on a life of its own, figuratively and literally. It’s a character in its own right and that’s something that is not easy to do. You fear the ship. You fear where it’s been and where it’s going to return to. That is the power of the script and how it conjures up these images in your mind, asking you to visualise these horrible things. 
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The film was released in 1997, and kind of flew under everyone’s radar. A lot of people slated it and I really can’t see why. I mean sure people are entitled to their opinion, but the level of hate this film got is quite something. Like I have said already, I just adore this movie. No horror movie has left quite an impression on me quite like this one has. The cast are on top, top form and the effects, set design and sound are just exquisite. 


The gore is used sparingly, but very effectively during the movie. It never feels gratuitous, and is only there to serve the story. That’s another thing I feel is missing in modern horror. It’s hard now to imagine that Event Horizon is nearly 20 years old, but it’s a movie I happily revisit time and time again, and so should you. 
5/5

JM

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