Film: Escape Plan

"Any break requires three things: knowing the layout, understanding the routine and help from outside or inside."

Escape Plan (formerly known as Exit Plan and The Tomb) is a 2013 action film thriller starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, 50 Cent, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Amy Ryan.

The film follows Ray Breslin (Stallone), a structural engineer who makes a living getting into prisons and breaking out of them testing the reliability of maximum security prisons, is asked to look into a super prison called The Tomb to see if it is escape-proof. When Breslin is incarcerated in The Tomb, not at all is what it seems as Breslin is aided with his escape by his cellmate Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger).

This film provides examples of:

  • The Alcatraz: The Tomb is designed to be completely escape-proof — the prisoners are drugged before being brought in, blindfolded when moved about, and are allowed no contact with or even visual access to the outside world; the cells are elevated and transparent, and surrounded almost completely by surveillance; the guards are masked and work in scrambled shifts so that the prisoners can't plan around their shifts; all the doors have magnetic locks in case of emergency; and to top it all off, the Tomb itself is built inside an oil tanker anchored in the middle of the ocean.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Once actually joining in the fray, Hobbes proves to be a remarkable shot.
  • Bald of Evil: Drake.
  • Batman Gambit: Breslin's plans are built on knowing how the guards of each prison will react.
  • Badass Boast: Breslin tells Hobbes that if he lets him go, he'll forget about the whole thing. If he doesn't?
    Breslin: I'll burn this fucking place down on the way out.
  • Badass Grandpa: Both Breslin and Rottmayer.
  • Battle of Wits: A large portion of the film is one of these between Breslin and Hobbes. Hobbes seems to relish the opportunity match wits with him. Breslin wins. Hobbes' last act seems to indicate that he accepts his defeat gracefully.
  • Big Bad: Willard Hobbes, the warden of The Tomb.
  • Big Bad Friend: Breslin's partner Clark is the one who set him up, in exchange for a cushy payoff.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Breslin's dialog at the top of this page. It ends up coming in just as handy in the Tomb. He gets the layout courtesy of breaking through a floor panel in the box and having Javed use a homemade sextant to learn their coordinates, they use personal tics to identify routine even with the guards having scrambled shifts and masks, and he gets help from inside thanks to Rottmayer and Dr. Kyrie.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Rottmayer mentions having a daughter who turns out to be the CIA agent who hired Breslin in the first place, as part of a plan to get her dad out.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Hobbes and the guards are fond of it.
  • Control Freak: Hobbes.
  • Crusading Widower: Breslin was a lawyer, but when his wife and son were killed by a man who had broken out of prison after Breslin sent him there, he dedicated his life to breaking out of prisons so any flaws could be found and repaired.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Hobbes, given that he literally has Breslin's playbook. In fact, he's so Genre Savvy that as soon as he notices Breslin's planning a Great Escape, he immediately transfers him to an empty cell block and removes him from any contact from any other inmates at all. It is only thanks to Breslin's bluff that he is returned to the general population. However, he then suffers from:
    • Wrong Genre Savvy: Once he actually tells Breslin he knows who he is, Breslin factors this into his plan... and Hobbes doesn't. The Kansas City Shuffle works because Hobbes thinks Breslin will follow the playbook to the letter, something that Breslin is counting on for his plan to succeed.
  • The Dragon: Drake, who's name seems a reference to the trope.
  • Dueling-Stars Movie: Like The Expendables, the film is a showcase for Arnold and Sly fans to see them come together, see them trade quips about each other and overall kick ass.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Mortally wounded Javed holds the line to let others to escape.
  • Evil Brit: Drake.
  • Faceless Goons: Hobbes' security force for The Tomb is made up entirely of this, to confuse the prisoners as to who is guarding them at any one moment and to prevent them from tracking shift changes. Breslin is still able to track them by their individual body language and other habits, though.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Javed, already mortally wounded by the guards and about to be executed by Hobbes, merely says "God is Great" in Arabic.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Hobbes is very polite and refined in his mannerisms, but a sadistic Sociopath who delights in his control over the inmates.
  • Genius Bruiser: Breslin.
  • Genre Savvy: Once it's made clear that this isn't just a standard job, Breslin plans on the assumption that the Big Bad has his playbook, because he literally does.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Though you don't actually get to see it happen, you do get to hear a loud and satisfying wet-crunch from offscreen as Drake's neck is snapped like a celery-stick after Breslin throws him down a flight of cold-iron stairs.
  • Graceful Loser: Hobbes' reaction to his impending death is a simple smirk and a "hmph".
  • Great Escape: Breslin makes a career of getting into prisons and breaking out of them to test their reliability, but The Tomb is a lot more different than he possibly thought. He and Rottmayer still get out in the end.
  • Hellhole Prison: The Tomb seems to count.
  • Heroic Willpower: Javed takes an improbably large number of bullets to the mid-section before going down, all to buy Rottmayer and Breslin the time they need. And he already had a bullet in the side to start.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Tomb guards seem to suffer heavily from this, to the point even point-blank assault rifle fire misses the main characters entirely. Hobbes, however, has almost improbably good aim when he actually joins the fray.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Hobbes is a crack shot with a pistol. One-handed, at nearly the absolute maximum range for the weapon.
  • Inconvenient Hippocratic Oath: Breslin appeals to Dr. Kyrie's better nature, provides proof of his real identity, and reminds him of his oath in order to secure him as an ally in the plot to escape the Tomb.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Breslin's escape plan involves making Hobbes think that they're going to start a riot in Block C, so that he'll relocate most of the guards there, and then actually starting one in Block A.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Breslin's partner Clark is the one who set him up to get locked up in the Tomb. Breslin responds by having him kidnapped and stuck inside his car locked in a shipping container on a cargo ship.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: All of the guards in the tomb, except for Drake.
  • Neck Snap: Breslin kills Drake by throwing him down a flight of metal stairs, breaking his neck (and judging by the pool of blood, also cracking his skull).
  • The Nicknamer: Rottmayer has nicknames for all of the Tomb's guards based on various personal habits and ticks. For example, "Hives" (because he's always scratching his neck), "Chickenman" (because he's always looking around), and "Louisa" (because "his fat ass reminds me of my first girlfriend").
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Hobbs doesn't like killing prisoners because he's getting paid to keep them there. He's also willing to make deals if it means getting him a bigger paycheck out of the deal.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Right before blowing up Hobbes, Breslin merely says "Boom."
    • Bond One-Liner: Afterwards, Rottmayer says "Have a lovely day... asshole."
  • Prison Riot: Part of the escape plan is to distract guards with a riot, and use it as a cover to get out.
  • Say My Name: Clark screams Ray's name when he's trapped inside the shipping container.
  • Sherlock Scan: Breslin does this constantly. Rottmayer even comments on it.
    • Hobbes can be seen doing it as well, signifying the two are in a Battle of Wits.
  • Shout-Out: If the friendship between Breslin and Rottmayer wasn't enough, Hobbes likes to collect butterflies.
  • The Sociopath: Hobbes, while nominally on the side of "The Law", fits into this like a comfortable pair of slippers. He displays an utter lack of concern for basic human dignity, or indeed the lives of prisoners and guards alike who he views as possessions rather than people, indulges in no real emotions except for taking a cold and analytic pleasure in absolute control and causing suffering (symbolized by his meticulously maintained and lifelessly-beautiful taxidermy butterfly collection), and is so disconnected from basic human feeling that he showed the same calm, almost amused, indifference to not only his hired men, but towards his own imminent fiery death at the film's end.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Hobbes again.
  • The Reveal: Breslin is hired to get in and out of the Tomb, and when he makes an ally of Rottmayer, he learns that he's working for a Robin Hood like criminal called Mannheim. After escaping, he learns that not only the woman who hired him for the job was Mannheim's daughter, but that Rottmayer was Mannheim himself. He admits that he Didn't See That Coming.
  • Unperson: Pretty much the point of the Tomb. People they send there cease to exist and are never getting out.
  • Villain Protagonist: Rottmayer and Javed. However, given the nature of the Tomb, it's unclear whether they're actually criminals or just people someone wanted done away with.
  • Wham Shot: When Breslin reaches the surface, he discovers that he's on a boat.
  • You Shall Not Pass: The mortally wounded Javed stays behind to hold off Hobbs' men while Breslin and Rottmayer escape.