Mar 19, 2012

When EX2 Was Still PG-13 - We Thanked The Universe for "The Tomb" - Mild Spoiler!

As reported by Movie Hole 

The near future - Stallone is Ray Breslin, a filthy-rich prison-escapee-for-hire. He likes to test out the high-security prisons that he’s designed by attempting to break out of them.
 
For the past 8 years he has been breaking out of prisons on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Corrections, to test how impenetrable and what flaws might exist in the respective penitential. Man is an absolute genius – smart as an internet entrepreneur and as tough as the bodyguard hired to protect such a mastermind.

When the film opens – much to the chagrin of the grizzled old warden who watches in dismay as one of his prisoners destroys cars and architecture as he makes his way out of the prison.
 
That one, of course, was intended to be Ray’s last (the Bureau, namely Breslin’s main contact ‘Clark’, is a little disappointed to hear that). 

Breslin’s company is based out of a sleek, metal high-rise that houses an office that screams ‘brain!’ what with the complex cubes and various nerd puzzles adoring the shelves and the big guy’s desk. This man can seemingly work his way out of any puzzle, let alone penal complex.
 
He and loyal colleague Abigail (nice plum female lead role), a twenty-something pretty blonde with brains as well as bodacious looks, have been asked to do another job. Though reluctant and despite Abigail’s discouragement, Breslin – and his $10m price tag – caves in.

The Bureau – namely, old friend ‘Clark’ – advise Breslin that he won’t know anything about the next location they want him to break out of. Though said to be a military establishment, the prison-cracker won’t know any of the where’s or what’s.


Breslin ends up in ‘The Tomb’ – Guantanamo Bay 2.0, a private facility that’ll open its doors – and quickly shut them – to whoever can pay. It’s owned by a man named Hobbes.
 
On the inside, Breslin befriends a cheeky, muscular ex-military man by the name of Swan (Schwarzenegger). Swan explains to his new friend that all the prisoners have been sent to this particular establishment because they’re all enemies of the state. They’ll remain in ‘The Tomb’ for interrogation and until the state decides what to do with them. Meantime, Swan advises his new friend to watch his ass – and try not get killed, because dead bodies lead to the cancellation of prison social nights (classic Arnie!).

Prison Warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezel) and his main guard Drake are your typical ice-cold ’80s movie villains – hating on the ‘scum’ they have to cage. Oh, and Drake is said to be ‘Australian’ – think Vernon Wells! 

In order to get out – and help a few new friends, like Swan, escape too – of the floating prison, Breslin has to arm himself with the one thing that might just save his ass : His brain. In several sequences, we get a “mind’s eye view” of Breslin working out the inner structure of the prison – how the rooms are connected, what each room is wired or built of, what machines and systems function in them; it’s a visual schematic if you will.

I don’t want to tell you how it all turns out – though I guess any fan of Sly and Arnie’s knows exactly where and how this thing ends, right? What I will say is that this is the real deal. This is the combo package of the great Sly and Arnie classics of years gone by – imagine ‘Ray Tango’ and ‘Dutch Schaefer’ teaming up (in fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Schwarzenegger’s character was inspired or rewritten to be closer in character to his “Predator” hero) to take out the trash, complete with the kind of verbal and tangible arsenal those guys became famous for.
Stallone’s character is very decent, but Schwarzenegger’ Swan is the first ‘real Schwarzenegger’ character we’ve seen in a long time – smart quips, the ability to knock-out cold anyone with just a thrust of his monstrous elbow, and armed with a monstrous gun… this is Dutch Schaefer, prisoner. You’re gonna love it, guys.

“The Tomb” is, excuse my French, the mother fuckin’ Arnold/Sly two-hander we’ve been waiting for. It’s not just a balls-to-the-wall action extravaganza, but it’s a smart one – it’s smartly written with fun characters, and a nifty mostly-original plot, but it’s also been doused in the kind of old school popcorn ’80s actioner tone that “Tango & Cash”, “Red Heat” and “Lock-Up” – to use a few Stallone examples – causing a surge in protein powder sales.

Can’t wait to get a peek of Barry Chusid’s production designs, namely the floating prison – should look a treat.