Escape Plan 2: Hades

The movie Escape Plan had a surprisingly good cast for what it was. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of goofy action pictures, especially ones with Stallone and Schwarzenegger. This sequel replaces Arnold with Dave Bautista, which was a great score on their part. He’s riding that wave of Guardians of the Galaxy success. The rest of that great cast — Amy Ryan, Jim Caviezel, and Vincent D’Onofrio aren’t in this, but you have Huang Xiaoming (American Dreams in China, The Sniper, The Message). He’s fighting his way through an elaborate prison called Hades, which has a “zoo” where prisoners are forced to fight each other. He plays Shu, one of Ray Breslin’s (Sylvester Stallone) employees who is abducted and tortured, so they can get info out of him. That means Breslin needs to call on Trent DeRosa (Bautista) so they can break him out.

Since this movie isn’t being released in theatres (VOD if you’re interested in watching it), it’s obviously just for the folks that love the many fights and stunts.

In the second half of the movie, once Breslin is doing more than sitting in his office, I thought about two things. Over the years, I think there have been at least five different movies where Stallone is breaking out of a prison. Even the soccer movie he did (Victory) involves him breaking out of prison.

The other thing I thought about Stallone is, he might be the actor that has done the most sequels for the most variety of characters. He’s played Ray Breslin now in three movies (the third in this series is already done), Rocky, Rambo, and Barney Ross (the Expendables character). It’s only a matter of time before he’s Tango again (or was he Cash?).

Breslin still has his IT guy (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), but this is basically Chinese movie star/model Xiaoming’s film. His English could’ve used a bit more work, but you can understand him, and he does convey a decent tough guy vibe.

For a straight to video movie, I was expecting this to be worse. But don’t take that as high praise. This is the type of movie I would’ve loved as a 13-year-old. I’d go see Chuck Norris movies and love all the fighting, despite his poor acting skills and hysterical way he tried to look tough but never could with that goofy mustache.

This does have a couple comedic moments. I liked watching Bautista talk tough, while completing a Rubik’s Cube in about 15 seconds, in front of a computer geek. He had funnier lines though in Hotel Artemis last month (although that movie disappointed me, too).

1 ½ stars out of 5.