Escape Plan 2: Hades is a sequel to the passably entertaining Escape Plan, that dawdles through its runtime without any apparent purpose
Sylvester Stallone returns as the security specialist Ray Breslin who is tasked to rescue his own team members after they are trapped in a special, impenetrable cell
Yet another sequel that nobody really asked for, yet another follow-up that pumps money and resources into a hollering and vacuous mess. Escape Plan 2: Hades is a grating, torturous affair that loses every single factor that made its predecessor a hair-brained breezy watch.
Indeed, most of Escape Plan’s appeal lay in watching action legends Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger kick some serious ass together for the first time in a feature-length. And boy did pulp sell. The film went on to rake in significant revenue internationally, amassing over $137 million globally.
What Escape Plan 2: Hades retains is a tired and disinterested Sylvester Stallone as Ray Breslin, who frequently appears in voiceovers doling out sterile platitudes to his underling trapped in a maximum-security prison. Most of the film hinges on the prison-break storyline. Still, the prison itself looks like a flashier version of an abandoned garage.
We learn that Breslin runs a security company that specialises in breaking clients out of impossible holding cells. His team comprises Hush, the hacker Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson essayed in the first film, along with newer recruits Abigail (Jamie King), Luke (Jesse Metcalfe), and Shu Ren (Huang Xiaoming.) They embark on one such mission, and royally botch it up. All seems well until Shu Ren and his tech genius cousin Yushein are kidnapped and shipped off to Hades, overseen by a warden who calls himself “The Zookeeper.”
It seems Escape Plan 2 was made as an origin story for Shu Ren, the face of the next generation of hi-tech prison breakers. Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming is the point of focus in this film, as he decodes the myriad puzzles to escape out of Hades, a futuristic holding unit that is supposedly impossible to escape from. From here on, Escape Plan 2 metamorphoses into a launchpad for Xiaoming into Hollywood, and a fan service for the Chinese market, where the initial action film performed best.
If you were to dig deep into why this place is called Hades, or the mastermind behind it, a Zookeeper, you’d credit Escape Plan 2: Hades to be a smarter film than it is. Sure, it has rotating floors and AI-enabled defenses, but the elementary CGI is too flagrant for any of these master traps to feel even remotely foreboding. The techy mumbo-jumbo feels, well, like mumbo jumbo.
It does not help that Bautista’s casting in the film seems like a cheap marketing gimmick to grab eyeballs, as the actor makes his pallid entry well into the second half of the movie, that too in a supporting part. Bautista is saddled with an ill-conceived part that requires no more than him to flex his muscles and strike some dapper poses.
There is some middling action in the mix which is the only redeeming factor in a movie that is as unnecessary as Bautista’s appearance in the film. For the most part, though, you are left wondering what the point of the film exactly is.
Verdict: There are some films that are so bad that they are good. Escape Plan 2 is so bland and tedious that even a Stallone- Bautista pairing can hardly rescue this sinking ship.