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Robert Levin’s “‘Escape Plan’… at Their Best” Is Winkingly Celebratory

In response to Robert Levin’s 504‑word review of Escape Plan on Film School Rejects

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Robert Levin’s “‘Escape Plan’ Review: Stallone and Arnold at Their Best” is silly, knowing fun. It’s criticism that knows when to strike and when to show mercy. It’s the perfect approach for a film like Escape Plan.

Levin’s work starts before the film, focusing on its inception. This frees Levin up to examine the film’s inner workings from a broader viewpoint, tackling some of the film’s basic assumptions before diving into the film itself.

There is a lot to like here, unless of course you like your film criticism hard-boiled, relentless, and unforgiving. Levin is none of these. He is patient to a fault with his subject matter, giving them many a free pass with a big smile on his face. At times he comes off as a resigned parent. He knows his kids should be better, but he also knows that they won’t be. It’s the perfect approach for a film like Escape Plan.

By saying that Levin gives the film a free pass, that isn’t to say that he turns a blind eye to its faults. They’re all there. Levin warns of implausible plot twists and points out character habits that will either endear or infuriate.

What’s really nice of At Their Best is how much trust Levin puts in his audience. He’s astute to know when a black and white verdict simply isn’t appropriate, and instead gives all the information that his readers will need to make an easy verdict of their own.

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation