Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018) - US / China
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (FCCA)
One of the best things about the original Escape Plan was the ultimate action icons pairing of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sly Stallone. The complicated jail break sequence and structure makes the film more fun than it really should have been. The follow up is a low budget Chinese and American co-production that feels more like a DTV Van Damme or Seagal film than a Stallone affair. Given Stallone is 72, his presence and action sequences are limited to walking around the office and finally breaking out of a jail in no more than 15 minutes of grace cameo.
For the #MeToo movement for more Asians in Hollywood, Mainland box office prince Huang Xiao Ming gets the headline explosive, but the material, director and English barrier hamper the wooden display and delivery of dead pan lines. Given Huang is no martial artist, but it does not justify terrible cutting of action scenes that chops and cuts it way to terrible ineffective effect. The audience really deserves far better than this. Stallone not to mention is totally stoic and appears to only cares about his paycheck as well as an involvement in the third film. It’s a sad addition to Stallone’s long career.
All in all, Escape Plan 2, lacks humour, story and most importantly a prison that is worth breaking out despite all the technology and talk that goes around how complicated the structure really is. It’s almost disappointing to mention that both Huang and Stallone are capable of far better films and acting and if the numbers in China are to go by, the film will end up making a small profit, but that’s probably the only joy you will be getting. The audience deserves better action movies and fans deserves a better Friday night at the movies.
I rated it 4/10