Why Stallone and Schwarzenegger's New Action Flick Might Be the Most Left-Wing Film in Theaters
This post contains some spoilers... but it's the new Ahnold and Stallone movie, so I'm guessing that plot detail isn't your primary concern.
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and hardcore gun-control advocate Sylvester Stallone have teamed up once again, this time for Mikael Håfström's jailbreak movie Escape Plan. The film is a vehicle for two legendary action stars to relive their days of vanquishing foes and dropping hot one-liners. "You hit like a vegetarian!" Schwarzenegger spits at Stallone as their characters tussle. But this action flick (written by Miles Chapman and Jason Keller) is also severely critical of military contractors, indefinite detention, solitary confinement, and private prison companies. In fact, the real villain of the movie is the for-profit prison industry. On top of this, Escape Plan presents a vigorous rejection of post-9/11, anti-Muslim fear-mongering. Call it shoot-'em-up liberal escapism, if you will.
Stallone plays Ray Breslin, a prosecutor-turned-security-expert who is paid by the government to test the security of maximum-security prisons—by posing as a prisoner and breaking out of them, of course. His team features 50 Cent as a bespectacled computer nerd, and the Oscar-nominated Amy Ryan as Breslin's street-smart colleague-with-benefits. Their sweet, lucrative gig is ruined when Breslin is kidnapped and taken to a CIA-backed, privately-run black site that's like Gitmo on steroids, where the guards torture with impunity (a hose shoved down a prisoner's throat is a stand-in for waterboarding). The detention facility is described as "completely illegal" by one character. To break out of the prison, codenamed "The Tomb," Breslin teams up with fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (played by the Republican Governator), a man locked up for working with "Mannheim," an international criminal who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. The Tomb's corrupt warden Willard Hobbs (anti-stem-cell-research personality Jim Caviezel) and his staff of "Blackwater rejects" wage war on Breslin and Rottmayer. And so the fun begins.