Arnie is nowhere to be found, but Sylvester Stallone is back as prison escapologist Ray Breslin, in a sequel which may have felt like a great idea until it turned out to be straight-to-DVD fare. Well, it technically has a theatrical release but a very limited one, as the studios often pay for films to air for a week in a single London auditorium, which means it qualifies for the likes of Mark Kermode to review it as a full-on cinema movie.
With the occasional Terminator out, I’m amazed Bruce Willis didn’t step in, since not only did he star in director Steven C Miller‘s rotting corpse of a movie that was Extraction, but they also joined forces again for Marauders and First Kill. I haven’t seen either of those, but they only fare slightly better in the IMDB scores, with all three currently standing at 4.0, 5.5 and 4.9, respectively. Escape Plan 2 is a 3.7.
But those are only aggregated scores, so this could be the film that changes all that, maybe?
Breslin now manages a team to carry out the work he did in the first film, which means all Stallone has to do is turn up for a while to boss people about before the main man, Shu (Huang Xiaoming), is transferred to Hades for reasons that don’t really matter, and he has to escape, but first… he needs a plan. Yes, an escape plan of some sort. Now, what could they have called the movie?
As for the plot, the inmates seem to have nothing better to do all day than battle things out in the “zoo” – effectively the gladitorial-style centre of their prison. Alas, with nothing but punching to get stuck into, the violence is quite lame in this, as it’s all so quickly cut together with every other frame missing, that it tries to look frenetic but just comes across as completely unengaging.
Stallone’s make-up is to done the point where he looks like he’s living in the times of Hugh Laurie as Prince George in Blackadder The Third, there’s some of the most dodgy ‘fire’ CGI since Peppa Pig: My First Cinema Experience, Dave Bautista is a barman with more tattoos than can fill his body, the punch-ups have absolutely zero originality to them, everyone mumbles like a drunk at chucking out time, there’s some double-crossing that you don’t give a hoot about, and Stallone’s only in it for a handful of scenes.
Oh, and this film even has a puppeteer! Why?! (It’s Ryan Sbaratta, for anyone who cares)
I watched this in HD and at least it’ll look good that was, as all scenes are mostly bathed in one single colour. Plus, there’s a soundtrack which comes across as a half-arsed attempt at copying Tangerine Dream’s ’80s sound, so at least you can try and get into that. However, it sums things up perfectly when Stallone says to a particular individual at one point, “I’ll tell ya something… I’m really gettin’ sick of this shit!”
THANKYOU! That’s what I’d been thinking for the past ninety minutes!
50 Cent mumbles a lot here, but was quite reasonable in the superb Den Of Thieves, and according to IMDB, he’s also scheduled to be in the sequel… interesting. What’s less interesting, is that he’s also scheduled to be in Escape Plan 3: Devil’s Station… oh no, it continues!!! (but then the end sets up a potential sequel, anyway)
That film will be directed by John Herzfeld, who also brought us the classic John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John movie, Grea… I mean, Two Of A Kind. Yeah, me neither. However, he also brought us 2001’s reasonable 15 Minutes and the hugely enjoyable 2 Days In The Valley, so there’s always a chance, and you have to treat each film on an individual basis.
In fact, 50 Cent moves his lips, but doesn’t open his teeth, so for all we know, he could really be saying, “Gottle ‘o geer! Gottle ‘o geer!”
Then again, there’s lots more mumbling, and lots of chat about computer systems that may or may not be crackable. In the end, I gave up trying to follow the mumbling and just waited for something to happen. That said, any semblance of plot doesn’t really matter because it won’t be long before they move on to another punch-up! In fact, I just got the idea that as Breslin doesn’t know the layout of the Hades prison in which Shu and others are trapped, they’ll come out the other end without too much hassle in a Prison Break-stylee.
If you’re going to watch this, make sure you do it with subtitles available. I didn’t have that luxury with the screener I reviewed this with. However, there’s a moment when the prisoners have to go back to their cells, and referring to their cell wings, the tannoy says “Prisoners please return to your spoke… I repeat, prisoners please return to your spoke…”
And I wish ALL lines were repeated!
Escape Plan 2: Hades is so pointless, and at one point, a bunch of albinos appear in the prison and I have no idea why.
And never mind escaping FROM the prison, what about the moment when one person can simply walk in??!
Note: This review is for the film only.
Running time: 96 minutes
Studio: Signature Entertainment
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (2.8K), Anamorphic Hawk Scope)
Released: July 20th 2018
Director: Steven C Miller
Producers: Robbie Brenner, Mark Canton, Randall Emmett, George Furla, Qiu Jie, Zack Schiller, Su Xing
Screenplay: Miles Chapman
Music: The Newton Brothers
Ray Breslin: Sylvester Stallone
Trent Derosa: Dave Bautista
Shu: Huang Xiaoming
Luke: Jesse Metcalfe
Hush: Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent)
Jaspar Kimbral: Wes Chatham
Yusheng Ma: Chenying Tang
Akala: Tyron Woodley
Moe: Tyler Jon Olson
Gregor Faust: Titus Welliver
Larry: Shea Buckner
Abigail: Jaime King
Jules: Lydia Hull
Mary: Ashley Cusato
Red: Yifan Luo
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.