Sequels can be rewarding and be even better than the original, but often collapse onto themselves and are forgotten by the people who watch them. That isn’t to say that sequels are plagued, but in my mind a sequel should take years to make. Take your time and don’t rush something just to make a profit. Escape Plan brought together Stallone and Schwarzenegger for the first time together and saw them thrown into a prison where they attempted their escape. The movie was standard, but enjoyable. Escape Plan 2: Hades ups the stakes with a high-tech prison that houses criminals who are forced to fight each other for survival. While the movie has its moments, it’s a step down from the first film and is what you’d expect for a video-on-demand release.
The film centers around Shu Ren (Huang Xiaoming) a member of Ray Breslin’s (Sylvester Stallone) team of security specialists who disappears and lands himself in a highly advanced prison. It’s run entirely on computers and forces the prisoners to fight each other for survival. If they win, they get two hours of sanctuary. If they lose, then they get beat up and not fed, resulting in poor health that could result in death. This prison isn’t designed to house criminals but to house people who have information that’s worth lots of money.
There are some cool fight scenes and it’s nice that the film throws some martial arts in the mix instead of gunplay, but the script by Miles Chapman (who co-wrote the first film) is really boring. There’s no sense of tension or danger. The prisoners spend time in their cells and then venture out to what’s called “The Zoo” and either interact with fellow inmates or fight it out in a battle – nothing else is seen or mentioned. Plus, there’s one key feature missing, Stallone! He’s in the film for maybe twenty minutes, I’m not kidding you!
This feels more like a spin-off or “inspired by” type of movie. Ray Breslin is hardly in the film, but Curtis Jackson returns; plus, we have Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) in the movie, too. Both of these men are underused and have barely any character development. I wonder what the writer was thinking when writing the script. He removed all the key players but did keep a somewhat similar idea.
Verdict 1 out of 5
Escape Plan 2: Hades is appropriately named. This movie drags you down to the lowest levels and the result is hardly fun or engaging. It’s so disappointing because the first film was enjoyable, but wasn’t great. Here, nothing happens except for some fighting, some instances of torture and weak dialogue. A third film is already in post-production and I just wonder is this is going to feel like The Expendables trilogy. If you’ve got nothing better to do with your time, avoid this film as it will do nothing to pass the time and instead head to the theater where there are better titles to choose from.