I’ve been an ardent movie watcher since I was 4-years-old. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) and Batman (1990) are the flicks that genuinely kicked-off my lifelong passion for movies. Throughout my childhood years, like any other boy of the 90s; I loved action films. Particularly, I enjoyed those that starred Sylvester Stallone (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2) or Arnold Schwarzenegger (Killing Gunther). Although, even as a kid, I realized these two titans of cinema are by no means master thespians. However, they were the ideal action stars of the era.
I’ve been watching these actors’ movies for a long time. Therefore, I was a prime mark when Stallone and Schwarzenegger jumped on the nostalgia express to make a comeback in the mid-2000s. The prime filmic example of which is Escape Plan (2013). A picture that gave both Arnie and Sly equal star billing. Escape Plan is by no means a great picture. However, it is a fun action movie that made me feel like a kid again.
So when I heard that a sequel was being made, I was excited. A feeling which increased when I found that Dave Bautista (Avengers: Infinity War) had been cast in the follow-up as I feel the man is more versatile and talented than folks give him credit for. Alas, I saw a red flag when Lionsgate announced that Escape Plan 2: Hades would receive a direct-to-video and streaming release. In the vast landscape that is home video, a direct-to-home release provides an opportunity for smaller or Indy films. However, a sequel to a major motion picture getting released in this fashion is not a good sign. Even so, I followed through as any devoted genre fan should.
It’s been a few years the events of Escape Plan and prison security expert, Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) has expanded his business. Ray is now teaching the next generation how to break out of the world’s most secure prisons; while he takes a backseat. The team’s latest job is at the world’s latest most-secure and technologically-advanced prison, Hades. Alas, Ray’s protege, Shu (Huang Xiaoming) is kidnapped inside the prison. Now, with a little help from his old associate, Trent Derosa (Dave Bautista), Ray must break into Hades to get his team member out.
What you just read was a fitting and straightforward plot for a fun action movie. Sadly, not only could the filmmakers behind Escape Plan 2: Hades not being such a plot to proper fruition. Honestly, I feel this has no redeeming value whatsoever. What could be a fun action flick ends up being a movie that’s incredibly boring. So dull in fact that I thought actually might prefer to serve a short prison sentence as opposed ever to watch this again. Of course, part of the reason this sequel is so terrible is that it is not what it claims to be.
Obviously, with this movie you would think you would be getting an action movie centered around Stallone and Bautista. To the contrary, these stars are just there to fool the potential audience into watching the film in review. In total, Stallone has 15 minutes of screen time, and Bautista has even less. Not that’s any of it is good, mind you. Both of these actors are phoning in their performances. Heck, I wasn’t even sure that Sly was awake in some of his scenes. Instead, the movie focuses on Shu and the other inmates of Hades; none of whom I could be bothered to care about at all.
There’s terrible acting in front of the camera, and there isn’t much better going on behind the camera either. This movie is so incompetently made that I couldn’t believe it was a professional production. The cinematography is so poorly shot that you have to squint to see things much of the time. As a result Escape Plan 2 is also a poor excuse for an action film. All of the action and fight scenes here are ineptly choreographed, lit, shot, and edited that you would think it was a joke. But again, that’s a large part of why this movie so dull.
I hate to be the movie reviewer who only trashes a film. However, when comes to this picture, as I said, I could find no redeeming value whatsoever. Frankly, Escape Plan 2: Hades is the worst movie of the year, thus far. If you’re a fan of action movies, old-school or otherwise; please, avoid this one! If you don’t, you’ll just be reminded that some movies are made strictly for commerce. As such, this film is a prime example of greed. It’s certainly nothing more as it’s not the least bit entertaining.
No matter what I think of this flick though; a direct-to-home video follow-up is already in production. Stallone and Bautista will return in Escape Plan 3: Devil’s Station next year.
In the meantime, ESCAPE PLAN 2: HADES is Available on Digital, Blu-Ray, & DVD!
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