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The Boston Globe

Movies

Movie Review

Putting Sly and Arnold behind bars in ‘Escape Plan’

After watching Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger get together for a couple of “Expendables” missions, we concluded that while it’s fun to remember ’80s popcorn-movie thrills, fully recapturing those thrills might be impossible. These are overdue dream teamings — ideally, there ought to be a sensation of experiencing something that makes us lose our genre-geek minds with excitement. Instead, these throwbacks have been a case of, let’s face it, giving a free pass to OK-not-great guilty pleasures. They’re older, we’re older — what can you do?

For the first half-hour of Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s new prison-break pairing, “Escape Plan,” you start to rethink what’s possible. Director Mikael Håfström (“Derailed”) serves up old-school action that’s crisp, not lunkheadedly creaky. Trouble is, it’s all Sly’s show — Ahnold hasn’t even come into the picture yet. The moment he does, some of the air goes out of the room, along with a lot of the cleverness. There are still kicks to be had, but we’re squarely back in indulgence territory.

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