'Escape Plan: 4K Ultra HD'
(Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, 50 Cent, et al / 4K Ultra HD + Blu ray + Digital / R / (2013) 2018 / Lionsgate Films)
Overview: Ray Breslin is the world's foremost authority on structural security. After analyzing every high security prison and learning a vast array of survival skills so he can design escape-proof prisons, his skills are put to the test. He's framed and incarcerated in a master prison he designed himself. He needs to escape and find the person who put him behind bars.
4K Ultra HD Verdict: Lionsgate Films continues to expand their 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray catalog offerings this June with the release of this quite stunning 'Escape Plan' in the new 4K home video format on June 5th, 2018.
For my money, this 'Escape Plan: 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital' combo pack's sharpness takes a fairly large step forward from others in their 4K Ultra HD catalog and even comes with HDR (High Dynamic Range) for the complete 4K Ultra HD experience, of course.
So, what we have is 'Escape Plan' presented to us as a two-disc combo pack with a sheet for a Digital HD Copy. Other stand out points you should know are: Codec: HEVC / H.265; Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p)
HDR: Dolby Vision + HDR10; Aspect ratio: 2.39:1, and Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1.
As with most all 4K UHD's, everything that we watch features a much brighter, deeper, more lifelike set of colors. Noticeably crisper with the overall clarity receiving an obvious boost here on this release, what's more is that it's enjoyably noticeable. For as well as some new nuances to the somewhat drab palette courtesy of Dolby Vision we also get to witness sudden bright pops of color; like the bright blue lights inside the prison.
The picture enjoys the fruits of the added resolution in terms of bringing out extremely fine facial (although with these two leads, maybe that wasn't such a bright idea after all!) and some of the yellow graded material (notably some scenes with the doctor portrayed by Sam Elliott) have a kind of honeyed amber appearance now. Which is interesting and at least a little different from the 1080p Blu-ray accounting.
As for the audio, well we have: English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1
English; and Dolby Digital 2.0. There are also Subtitles in English SDH and Spanish.
Overall, this is a very strong 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation, and, for the most part, the audio track remains fairly similar to its DTS-HD counterpart; with much of the action occupying the surrounds with outstanding directionality and placement where effects flawlessly pan between the sides and rears.
Phew! OK, so, as for the movie itself, well, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger shared a few scenes in both installments of the Expendables franchise, but 'Escape Plan' marks the first time the two legendary actions stars have headlined a film together, and it feels somewhat poetic that this team-up should be so reminiscent of the films on which both men built their careers.
Stallone stars as Ray Breslin, a security expert whose entire career has been built around pointing out the flaws in maximum security prisons - by getting himself incarcerated and then breaking out of them. His reputation gets him a meeting with the CIA, who want Ray to go undercover inside a privately funded penitentiary which houses the most dangerous criminals and terrorists in the world, an off-the-books facility known as The Tomb.
Unfortunately for Ray, the entire thing is a setup, and now he's trapped on the inside at the mercy of the devilish Warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) and completely cut off from the outside world. His only option is to befriend the big man on the inside, Emil Rottmayer (Schwarzenegger), whose ties to a shadowy underworld figure might be the ticket to a major payday for Hobbes.
Without the large-scale skirmishes of 'The Expendables' or the gore-soaked combat of 'Rambo' to distract moviegoers, Stallone is forced to rely on his charisma, and he proves that he still has plenty to offer. But he takes a backseat to Schwarzenegger here, who delivers his best performance since his return to the big screen.
Not only is the Governator given an opportunity to showcase a bit of range, he actually seems to be having fun with this one, which is more than can be said for 'The Last Stand'.
'Escape Plan' is far from a perfect film, but an audience willing to suspend a tremendous amount of disbelief and ignore the gaping plot holes will find an enjoyable flick with a solid blend of action and humor, not to mention a fantastically understated performance by Caviezel, who will hopefully be cast as a major villain in a superhero movies sometime in the very near future.
As for a delve into a couple of the Special Features, I happen to love 'Executing the Plan: The Making of Escape Plan.' Running at just over 20 minutes, it is non-stop and chock full of star interviews and fun behind the scenes footage and scenes from the film. I say fun, as both these BIG stars seem to be acting more like brothers on set than opposing film stars throughout the decades.
Also, for a deeper look into how certain scenes were brought together you can do no worse than the Audio Commentary by Director Mikael Håfström and Co-Writer Miles Chapman. Interestingly, the two participants did this commentary simultaneously though on opposite coasts.
They work with each other nicely here too, as if they were in the same room, to be quite honest, and each give their own morsel of interesting background information on the concept as well as some of the rigors of the shoot. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via 1080p and comes with the Special Features of:
Audio Commentary by Director Mikael Håfström and Co-Writer Miles Chapman
Executing the Plan: The Making of Escape Plan (1080p; 22:13).
Maximum Security: The Real Life Tomb (1080p; 21:57)
Clash of the Titans (1080p; 15:34)
Deleted Scenes (1080p; 8:13)
Official 'Escape Plan: 4K Ultra HD' Trailer Link