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James Berardinelli’s “Escape Plan” Is a Dismissive, Halfhearted Affair

In response to James Berardinelli’s 840‑word review of Escape Plan on ReelViews

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James Berardinelli’s “Escape Plan” never tries to be more than it is. It knows, or at least it wholeheartedly believes in, the limitations of the Escape Plan review genre, and it never sets its sights higher.

Berardinelli seems to want to get things out of the way, but he doesn’t seem to have any destination in mind. He just keeps moving on to the next inconsequential paragraph. He covers a lot of ground, but always in what seems to be an effort to get somewhere that doesn’t exist.

The critic begins with the traditional decade discussion, contrasting the 80s and 90s to today. It’s perfunctory at best, but Berardinelli doesn’t try to refute this. He writes in a way that acknowledges the lack of new ground being paved.

The problem is that it never goes anywhere. Berardinelli goes so far as to refer to any attempts at doing so “a little pointless.” Instead, he gives a rundown of the major plot movements in such a dismissive way that any reader who disagrees that the film’s events are a foregone conclusion will take offense.

There are some funny moments in the writing, particularly toward the end, but in the end, the work is more likely to disappoint its audience more than anything else.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation