Sunday, August 17, 2014


Hey yeah so last night I watched ESCAPE PLAN, a Sylvester Stallone movie featuring a jaunty spotlight turn from Arnold Schwarzenegger. I swear that Schwarzenegger ended most of his conversations with Stallone with a pretty good wisecrack that sounded like a natural button - like, okay, that was a good wisecrack, we're moving on to another scene now - but then Stallone would have to tack on an extra wisecrack that was just gilding the lily, an inferior wisecrack, like Stallone had it in his contract that he always had to make the last wisecrack, like he had a guy on set to write toppers for him on the spur of the moment, like Bob Hope would have had, only this guy wasn't up to it. I feel sure my analysis would not stand up to the most basic level of scrutiny, but that's how it felt. One thing I enjoyed was when Stallone punched a guy in the gut a couple of times and the guy said "Aaoogah!" each time, like an old-time car horn: "Aaoogah! Aaoogah!" Or it may have been Stallone saying "Aaoogah! Aaoogah!" with the exertion of his punching. One of them was saying "Aaoogah! Aaoogah!" Once again, I am not sure my fleeting impressions of the moment would stand up in a court of law. Arnold Schwarzenegger had a "mad scene" more or less like Ophelia's! And I have to say he did a good job of it. He played that whole section in German. He sold it, man, and I was buying it all the way! Genius and madness glimmered in his eyes! In equal measure! And now I would like to warn you about the very major spoiler that is going to take up almost all the rest of this "post." It's about the ending. Okay. So, Stallone is about to wreak a mighty vengeance on evil warden Jim Caviezel by blowing him up. In the split second before the explosion, Jim Caviezel, realizing what is about to happen, just cocks his head to the side very slightly, like a curious little dog, and squeaks. He squeaks! An anticlimactic and fascinating choice. I could not find an "internet" image of Jim Caviezel squeaking like an interested puppy, but here is Sylvester Stallone about to set off the explosion with his gun, and someone has gone to the trouble of labeling it in yellow letters. While I am not sure I agree with his or her assessment, I admire the effort. (A late postscript! It strikes me that Schwarzenegger's "madness" - an act designed to confound an authority figure - has more to do with Hamlet's than Ophelia's.)