Escape Plan: The Extractors (Movie Review)

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

PLOT: Ray Breslin and his associates take on a vengeful villain who runs a hellhole black site prison.

REVIEW: Released in 2013, the first film in the ESCAPE PLAN franchise starred Sylvester Stallone as Ray Breslin, a man whose security firm tested the integrity of maximum security prisons by passing off Breslin as a convict, dropping him into the prisons, and seeing if he could escape from them. Breslin's business partner Lester Clark (Vincent D'Onofrio) ending up betraying him and trying to get him stuck in a hi-tech prison called The Tomb for good, but with the help of a character played by Arnold Schwarzenegger our hero was eventually able to get out of the place and get some payback on Clark.

ESCAPE PLAN: THE EXTRACTORS, the third film in this franchise, isn't on the same level as that big screen Stallone/Schwarzenegger team-up movie, but it is an improvement over last year's ESCAPE PLAN 2: HADES, which went too over-the-top sci-fi for my liking and also shifted the focus away from Stallone for a substantial amount of the running time. THE EXTRACTORS is still an ensemble film, but it feels like more of a Stallone film than HADES did, and the prison in this story is the opposite of the hi-tech places from the previous films. This movie was shot in a real former prison, the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, which was built between 1886 and 1910, then closed down in 1990. Stallone has been there before – it's where the prison scenes in TANGO & CASH were filmed.

The events of HADES are of little consequence here. Director John Herzfeld, who also rewrote the screenplay by Miles Chapman (co-writer on the first ESCAPE PLAN and the only credited writer on 2), wanted the story of the film to be a direct sequel to the first movie. The villain who gets the story rolling is Lester Clark Jr. (Devon Sawa), who wants revenge on Breslin for what he did to his father and on the company behind The Tomb for getting his father mixed up in their schemes. To do this, he abducts the company owner's daughter Daya Zhang (Melise) and Breslin's co-worker/girlfriend Abigail (Jaime King), taking them away to Devil's Station, a hellish black site prison he runs in Latvia.

Escape Plan: The Extractors Sylvester Stallone John Herzfeld

Like computer whiz Hush (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson) and receptionist turned field agent Jules (Lydia Hull), Abigail is a character who has been around since the first movie, where she was played by Amy Ryan. Jaime King took over the role in part 2, and honestly I didn't even realize she was supposed to be the same character Ryan played until I was about to start watching 3. She and Breslin had a flirtmance in the previous movies, but now they're in a full-fledged relationship, making her abduction an even more emotional situation for Breslin. Stallone is great at displaying rage, I would not want to get on that guy's bad side.

So while the previous films were about people trying to figure out how to escape from prisons, THE EXTRACTORS flips the concept around and is about people trying to figure out how to infiltrate a prison. Breslin is aided in this endeavor by Hush and Jules; problem solver Trent Derosa (Dave Bautista), who was introduced in HADES; Daya's current bodyguard Bao (Harry Shum Jr.); and Daya's former bodyguard / love interest Shen (Jin Zhang).

The set-up works fine, the story has an emotional element, there are personal stakes for both the heroes and the villains. I was somewhat surprised to find that the guy from FINAL DESTINATION and IDLE HANDS has grown up to become someone who can play an effective action movie villain. Sawa doesn't seem like he'll be a physical threat to the heroes – it's tough to seem like you could beat up Stallone or Bautista – but Clark has an anger and a willingness to kill that makes him feel dangerous.

Breslin and his pals begin their raid on the prison at about the halfway point, leading into a second half that is full of violent physical altercations and shootouts. Stallone, Bautista, and Zhang all get a chance to shine in the action sequences, with Stallone and Bautista bringing the brute strength while Zhang engages in more dazzling martial arts fights. The fights are well choreographed and well shot, with Herzfeld making sure we can see his actors performing the moves instead of pulling any quick cut shaky cam tricks. There are some bone-crunching brawls in here, and one standout moment involves a henchman played by Daniel Bernhardt, an action regular who got his acting career started by replacing Jean-Claude Van Damme in the BLOODSPORT sequels back in the day.

There's not much to THE EXTRACTORS, the story is quite simple: get characters to Devil's Station and then have them fight there. I was entertained by it, though, and it delivered exactly what I wanted it to, which is some good action and the sight of people beating the hell out of each other. The fact that both sides of this disagreement are understandable was a nice touch, and it's always good to see Stallone get another chance to be the cinematic badass he has been for more than 40 years.

If you're in the mood for some modestly budgeted action, ESCAPE PLAN: THE EXTRACTORS does the job. And if you don't like it, at least the end credits start rolling after just 79 minutes.

Lionsgate is giving the film a Digital 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), and DVD release on July 2nd. You can pick up a copy at THIS LINK.

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.