Movie Review: Escape Plan 2: Hades

Sylvester Stallone embarrasses himself in a bargain-basement action sequel

Escape Plan 2: Hades (Plán útěku 2)
Directed by Steven C. Miller
With Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Huang Xiaoming, Jaime King, Jesse Metcalfe, Wes Chatham, Titus Welliver, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson
(some copied are dubbed into Czech)

Look for the closest direct path to the exit when you go to see Escape Plan 2: Hades. This B-movie sequel may encourage viewers to plan their own early escapes from the cinema.

Sylvester Stallone has three Oscar nominations and won a Golden Globe (for Creed), and has been in some fine films. But he also has the most ever nominations for Golden Raspberry Awards, given to bad films. He has won almost a dozen times, not counting a special comeback award for his good performance in Creed. In 1990, he earned Worst Actor of the Decade.

Escape Plan 2: Hades falls squarely into Sly's list of B-movie embarrassments. Despite his top billing, he is really a supporting character making brief appearances until he has more substantial scenes near the end.

Dave Bautista, currently also on screens in Hotel Artemis and known as Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy films, also has a minor role compared to people below him in the cast list.

The main plot in this Chinese-American co-production revolves around Asian action star, singer and model Huang Xiaoming as security expert Shu Ren, who is abducted into a high-tech underground secret prison called Hades, for High Asset DEtention Service.

Rapper 50 Cent turns up as one of those computer experts who stare at the code on the screen, touches a few keys and announces he has cracked into the system.

Desperate Housewives star Jesse Metcalfe and Hunger Games star Wes Chatham have quite a substantial role as prisoners.

The plot, to no one's surprise, revolves around escaping from the high-tech prison.

The list of questions about the plot is almost endless. The secret prison is a massively expensive affair. Giant screens in the control room display scrolling code for some reason. The prison hospital has robot doctors with futuristic tools. Some sort of green energy bolts keep the prisoners in line. There is some sort of holographic chamber that lowers from the ceiling.

None of this is really necessary or makes any sense, except from the point of view of making B-movie eye candy for the international audience.

To add some martial arts to the plot, the prisoners are forced to participate in random one-on-one fights in a central area called the zoo. Audiences have seen this many times before and done better.

There are some potentially interesting elements, but the filmmakers don't exploit them properly. Three Icelandic hackers, looking very Goth, are introduced, and one has the promising name of Count Zero. But the script just wastes them with a few throw-away lines.

The reasons behind the prison and who runs it get fairly routine explanations that are little more than double talk.

The action scenes, which is the whole reason for the venture, are passable but not spectacular.

The film is a sequel to 2013 film Escape Plan, which starred Stallone along with Arnold Schwarzenegger and other A-list stars. That film was a moderate hit, despite mixed reviews.

This sequel, though, lacks the star power of the original — Arnie does not return — and was shot on a much lower budget.

Even undiscriminating action fans will likely find this sequel to be an annoying waste of time.

Sylvester Stallone fans would do better to wait and see Creed II, slated for a winter release this year.

A third entry in the Escape Plan series has already been shot and is expected to recover in time for a 2019 release.

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