Nobody enjoyed the Sylvester Stallone/Arnold Schwarzenegger smash-up Escape Plan more than Movies In Focus. The 2013 flick was a fun actioner, which was bolstered by an above average supporting cast (Jim Caviezel, Sam Neill, Vincent D’Onofrio and..errr…Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson). Five years later, comes Escape Plan 2, a sequel which only sees Stallone and Jackson return to escape from another super-duper maximum security prison. Steven C. Miller takes over directing duties from Mikael Håfström, for this terrible follow-up which fails to work on nearly every level.
This time around Stallone is sidelined into a supporting role, with Xiaoming Huang taking the lead in a cynical attempt to appeal to the Chinese market. Dave Bautista also has a supporting role – but don’t get excited by the poster – this isn’t a Stallone/Bautista buddy movie – he’s got even less screen time than Sly. Throw-in Jesse Metcalfe and Wes Chatham, alongside some totally unnecessary sci-fi elements and you get a very pale imitation of the original flick. This doesn’t feel fresh, it doesn’t feel like a homage to classic action movies – it just feels (and is) a cheap movie that only exists to fill up a DVD shelf or VOD slot.
Normally, I don’t like to go all-guns-blazing on a movie – but Escape Plan 2 (which is ironically subtitled Hades) is a hellish experience. The only positive is that Stallone does appear to have put in some effort to secure screen-time. This isn’t one of those Bruce Willis-style 1 day,/$1 million contracts. Sly must have spent at least a week on set – but that’s not enough when you have charisma voids filling the screen for the majority of the running time. The film is only ninety minutes long, and it feels twice that length. I’ve been robbed of ninety minutes of my life and I’ll never get that back. Stallone has enough cash and viable franchises (hello Rocky/Creed, Rambo and Expendables) to ensure that he doesn’t have to make things for the cash, so what the hell is he doing appearing in this drivel?
I’m not sure if it’s good or bad news that they’ve already filmed Escape Plan 3. It can’t be any worse than this, although to be fair, I never thought that Escape Plan 2 could be this dire. You should avoid this mess at all costs, unless you’re a hardcore Sylvester Stallone fan – and even then you should be prepared to be seriously disappointed. Everyone involved in this should be locked up.