They had to have planned this


“The Count of Monte Cristo” (2002) with Jim Caviezel is one of my favorite movies. It combines period-appropriate action, betrayal and revenge into a great film, plus it has Richard Harris, whom you may remember from his hit song “MacArthur Park.” Because of my love for Jim Caviezel in movies, particularly ones involving prison breaks, I went to see “Escape Plan,” which also stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Fair warning here for those who don’t want either of these movies spoiled: Their plots are about to be dissected.

The classic story of “The Count,” written by Alexandre Dumas tells the story of Edmond Dantes, who gets wrongfully imprisoned in the Chateau d’If, an inescapable prison on a small island. There he meets an imprisoned soldier who teaches him to read, fence and inductively reason from the events that led to his imprisonment who was behind the setup. He hides in a body bag, which is thrown in the ocean, and swims to safety.

“Escape Plan” is a movie in which Ray (Stallone) is wrongfully imprisoned in The Tomb, an inescapable prison on a massive boat. There he meets a man (Schwarzenegger) who helps him get the tools and distractions necessary to escape. After his friend gets to the chopper, Stallone takes an alternate route that leads to an underwater escape where he then swims to safety.

Jim Caviezel plays Edmond Dantes in “The Count of Monte Cristo” and the warden in “Escape Plan.” Imagine if all the suffering Dantes went through led to him, years later, building his own even more inescapable prison and to be the same kind of cruel warden who whipped him in the Chateau d’If.

The tie-ins don’t end there though. Throughout the movie are some subtle references to Dumas’ other well known work “The Three Musketeers.” In prison, Stallone’s character is undercover as “Porthos,” whom Schwarzenegger alludes to as “the fourth musketeer.” As three of the prisoners attempt their escape, another musketeer joke is made, and when they finally split up their roles are very similar to the classic roles the musketeers played in their work; a self sacrifice and a survivor.

I think it is absolutely wonderful how they somehow managed to tie all these things together in “Escape Plan.” Even if the movie wasn’t super original, all the conspiracy theories buzzing in my head since writing have been marvelous.