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Review: Escape Plan 2: Hades

Escape Plan 2: Hades
5 10

PLOT: One of Ray Breslin’s (Sylvester Stallone) employees is abducted, and sent to a high-tech prison called Hades. In order to rescue the missing man, Ray assembles his crew, including freelancer Trent DeRosa (Dave Bautista).

REVIEW: A word of warning before anyone rents ESCAPE PLAN 2 on VOD. Don’t go into this expecting a Sylvester Stallone/ Dave Bautista team-up flick. Were that what this is, it wouldn’t have gone the VOD route. Rather, this is the latest in a long line of VOD action flicks from Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, where big-time stars get paid handsomely for a few days of work, while the movie is actually led by someone further down the line. Bruce Willis and John Cusack are mainstays of this genre.

To give credit where it’s due though, Stallone is more involved with ESCAPE PLAN 2 than he needed to be. He could have sleepwalked through it, with a few scenes sprinkled in here and there, but instead, his Ray Breslin gets slightly more screen time than you’d think in the climax, although his scenes in the first two acts are sporadic.

In the years since the first ESCAPE PLAN, we learn that Breslin has branched out, and indeed his new organization seems more like THE EXPENDABLES-lite than the breakout service from the first. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is back as his tech guru, while Jamie King, Jesse Metcalfe, and Huang Xiaoming play his new recruits. It’s really Chinese star Xiaoming’s film, with his character, Shu Ren, being the one sent to Hades, under the guise that the warden – “The Zookeeper” (Titus Welliver) needs a patent his genius cousin came up with.

Director Stephen C. Miller is another Emmett/Furla mainstay, and to me he’s always been one of the better VOD directors, as he can usually be depended on to crank out proficient movies under-the-gun, although the way they’re shot (in short shoots – with limited star availability) gives them all a Corman-style vibe, although they’re always well-assembled all things considered. While the numerous hand-to-hand scraps are cut a little too close for my liking, and star Xiaoming struggles with his English dialogue, the movie is fast-paced and has more action than you’d think given how low-rent other movies from the studio are.

The problem, of course, is that you never really want to watch Xiaoming and Jesse Metcalfe fight their way through the prison, especially when the posters make it look like it’ll be Stallone and Bautista. The two guys only really have one action scene together, a quick bar-room shoot-em-up, although both figure into the climax, with Stallone, also getting the chance to go head-to-head with the movie’s secondary villain, who’s thirty years his junior and gives him a good fight. Say what you will, but Stallone was clearly there to work and bring more to this than he had to – making it worth a rental for his die-hard fans.

ESCAPE PLAN 2 feels like an effort to spin off Stallone into a low-key VOD series he can work on between films, and indeed a third is already wrapped and on the way. While it’s being sold in a disingenuous way, ESCAPE PLAN 2 is still slick enough for the genre and even has one or two solid moments of insanity (including a prison robot, and twin ghoul brothers who chant “we are legion” but actually turn out to be good guys). As far as VOD actioners from this company go, this is one of the better ones, but that’s still faint praise.

 
Source: JoBlo.com

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