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Film / Escape Plan

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"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-thriller film directed by Mikael Hafstrom starring Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim Caviezel, 50 Cent, Sam Neill, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Amy Ryan.

The film follows Ray Breslin (Stallone), a structural engineer who makes a living getting into maximum-security prisons and breaking out of them to test their reliability, 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 all is what it seems as Breslin is aided with his escape by his cellmate Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger).

It has a sequel Escape Plan 2: Hades, and another one Escape Plan: The Extractors note .

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.
  • Artistic License – Physics: No matter how deep the draft or the stabilizers involved, the prisoners would eventually realize they were on a ship. Occasionally, any ship not bolted to the bottom of the ocean gets buffeted by a little unexpected movement the people on board can feel, even in the Horse Latitudes. Statistically, some of the prisoners would have had some sailing experience and recognize it. However, it's a film, and this ship obviously has a few tricks up her sleeve in-universe.
  • 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.
  • Batman Gambit: Breslin's plans are built on knowing how the guards of each prison will react.
  • 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: Breslin's partner Clark is the one who set him up, in exchange for a cushy payoff.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Although technically the main antagonist of the film, Clark is helpless to do anything without Hobbes doing the work for him and as soon as Hobbes is killed, Clark is easily dealt with.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Clark sets up Breslin to spend the rest of his life in the Tomb but acts all innocent and reassuring when Hush and Abigail ask about the legitimacy of the mission and of course Breslin's safety to make sure it's not bullshit which Clark tells them that "everything is all good".
  • Bond One-Liner: Rottmayer says "Have a lovely day... asshole," right after Hobbes is blown up.
  • 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 (disguised as the latter doing his prayers, which he uses to avoid getting caught) 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.
  • Crusading Widow: 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.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: At the end of the movie, Clark is attempting to flee, only to discover Hush lurking in the back seat of his car. A cloth soaked in chloroform clamped over his nose and mouth soon follow.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Hobbes is used by Lester to hold Ray but is easily the biggest threat in the film. The vast majority of the plot is devoted to the battle between he and Ray, while after Hobbes' death, Lester is easily subdued.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Mortally wounded Javed holds the line to let others escape.
  • Faceless Goons: Hobbes' security force for The Tomb all wear identical, black masks shaped like human faces, 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 also a sadistic Sociopath who delights in his control over the inmates.
  • Ghost Extras: For being a prison where people pay good money to ship other people to, and not have those people killed, the rest of the inmates sure don't seem like the type sent to a prison such as that. But it's a prison, and prisons have those sort of people.
  • Glassy Prison: The Tomb's cells are transparent and elevated to make monitoring the prisoners easier.
  • 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.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Not checking the inmates for smuggled contraband after being interrogated or going to the infirmary. Considering Hobbes makes a point that he read Breslin's book and used it to shore up security, and Breslin often makes use of smuggled items to escape, this is a rather glaring omission.
  • Gunship Rescue: During the final escape, the allies of Breslin and Rottmayer send a armed helicopter to pick them up. The heavy machine guns provide useful suppressing fire that forces the guards to keep their heads down (and kills several of them).
  • The Heavy: Willard Hobbes, the warden of The Tomb, is the man whose clutches Ray spends the bulk of the film trying to escape, despite Lester being the Big Bad.
  • Hellhole Prison: The Tomb seems to count. The guards will beat you and terrorize you for just for looking at them wrong and they are lead by their sadistic Captain Drake. If you're hurt, don't you expect to receive any proper medicine as Hobbs coldly denies the prisoners much needed medication for severe pain, make a wise crack to Hobbs and you basically get waterboarded with a HOSE and the most dreaded punishment that all of the prisoners hate is the Solitary Confinement wing called "The Box". The Box is small oubliette where a set of high-powered halogen lights are used to torture prisoners held there with sensory overload and sleep deprivation from the brightness and heat. When Breslin was thrown into solitary after he fought Rottmayer, the scene with his stay in solitary looked like the guards were essentially cooking him in an oven.
  • 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.
  • Insecurity Camera: The security cameras and the motion sensors are set up in a series circuit, allowing tampering with one camera/sensor to take them all down.
  • 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.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Breslin's isolation box camera going out (because he stuffed bread in it) is treated as such.
  • The Jailer: Hobbes is warden of The Tomb: a privately run, off-the-books prison where individuals, corporations and governments can pay to have troublesome individuals 'disappeared'. There are no trials and no release dates. And because Wardens Are Evil, he enjoys exercising absolute power of his personal fiefdom.
  • 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's friends respond by having him kidnapped and stuck inside his car locked in a shipping container on a cargo ship.
  • 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").
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Lester betrays Ray to have him sent to Hobbes' prison and beyond being behind Ray's troubles, stays out of the fray, allowing the sadistic warden to hurt Ray as he sees fit.
  • 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."
  • Prison Riot: Part of the escape plan is to distract guards with a riot, and use it as a cover to get out. The trick, however, is letting the guards think they know it's coming, only to start it in a completely different section after the guards have been diverted in anticipation of the fake one.
  • Punishment Box: The Solitary Confinement cells in the Tomb take this up to 11. On top of being a small cramped space that's only slightly bigger than a casket, a set of powerful halogen lamps switch on and off at a guards control, which causes a prisoner to dehydrate from the heat, and interfere with a prisoners sleep, due to their sheer brightness, and the loud buzzing of the lamps.
  • Say My Name: Clark screams Ray's name when he's trapped inside the shipping container.
  • 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.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: While hanging from the helicopter ladder, Breslin fires several shots into a group of fuel drums sitting on the deck of the ship: directly under the platform Hobbes is standing on. Hobbes looks confused till he notices the spreading pool of fuel under the drums. Breslin then fires a final shot that ignites the whole lot into a gigantic fireball.
  • 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.
  • Surprise Vehicle: A helicopter is approaching the ship as part of the Great Escape. The ship captain is surveying the sea when the chopper suddenly rises into his field of view, startling him. However, there is no sound of rotors until they are visible.
  • Take That!: In a not-so-subtle potshot at the United States and its use of Guantanamo Bay and black site prisons in other countries, The Tomb when revealed as a ship, is also shown to be registered as the MV Rican, which looks like "Murican" from a distance.
  • Tracking Device: Ray Breslin's friends inject him with a tracking device so they could find out where the top-secret prison he's being taken to is. Unfortunately, Ray's captors surgically remove the tracking device and destroy it before he goes very far with them.
  • Underside Ride: In the breakout at the beginning of the film, Breslin wears a firefighter uniform and hitches a ride under a firetruck, only to emerge undisturbed while the actual firemen put out the fire caused by one of his accomplices outside.
  • 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.