Film Review: Escape Plan 2: Hades Posted by Wilson Morales
June 28, 2019
Sylvester Stallone’s career has been on the upside since he “came back” with The Expendables franchise. While those films weren’t critically well received, he did manage to bring a number of action stars from yesteryear and that itself was the sell. Then came his biggest comeback when he reprised his legendary role as Rocky Balboa in Ryan Coogler’s Creed. While it was a supporting role, he received an Oscar nomination. In between those films, he did the 2013 prison break thriller Escape Plan, which was a decent action fair and co-starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. The film didn’t spark any news at the box office, but it must have done well overseas for producers to feel that a sequel could be made, hence “Escape Plan 2: Hades.”
With Stallone back in a really supportive role along with Jackson, the film was released on Blu-ray, Digital, and On Demand followed by a small theatrical release in China. With Marvel films gobbling up the box office along with Jurassic Park and other tentpole films, maybe it was the right move to get some attention in that format rather than get lost in the shuffle during the summer. It’s still a rare thing for a Stallone film to be shown in this way.
Needless to say, Escape Plan 2: Hades is a well produced action film, but the script is below Stallone’s standards. Yes, back in the day when he was the top action star, the plot didn’t matter. With films like Cobra, Tango and Cash, Demolitian Man and other mediocre action films to his credit, Stallone was the draw and it paid off then. But here, he’s not even the star of the film and Schwarzenegger didn’t return for the follow-up. Hades mostly stars Xiaoming Huang, Jesse Metcalfe, Jamie King, Alphonso A’Qen-Aten Jackson, and Dave Bautista.
In all fairness, without Stallone’s name, the film would be a hard sell in theaters or on-demand. With so many platforms via theaters, on-demand and streaming channels, marketing is a big component to getting attention. This is the type of film one would see on USA or Lifetime if they focused on action thrillers. It’s actually a mindless film to watch, but after you finish seeing, it quickly disappears from your head.
Ray Breslin (Stallone), now out of prison and running his security firm, is behind-the-scenes as his team tries to infiltrate and rescue some hostages out of some out-of-the-country location. When the plan goes awry due to one of the team members failing to follow protocol, the result is disastrous.
Some time later, another team member Shu Ren (Xiaoming Huang) is off visiting his cousin in Bangkok, Thailand when both are kidnapped and sent to H.A.D.E.S. (High Asset DEtention Service) Prison where prisoners have to fight daily to stay alive. Turns out his cousin is a tech guru and the mastermind behind the kidnapping wants his latest patent design. When Ray figures where Shu Ren is being held, he and the others have to figure how to break in and free their man out while also stopping who controls the prison.
What sells is the action sequences and the production design. Huang is new to some faces and does a good job with the fighting sequels but the script is laced with too much technical jargon at times to comprehend what is really going on. Dave Bautista is totally wasted in this film. With his Guardians of the Galaxy fame, he brings nothing to the table and so is 50 Cent, who seem to be phoning in his performance. This is a type of film one could watch on a plane to fill up time, but other than that and outside of the martial arts fighting, there’s not much to seeing Stallone in a talking role in an action film.