Director: Stephen C. Miller
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Jesse Metcalfe
Watch Escape Plan 2 online in the UK: Netflix UK / iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store
Sylvester Stallone’s knack for being able to make surprise franchises is rather unheralded in this era of the MCU, but with Escape Plan 2, Sly now has three film series on the go, joining Creed and The Expendables (plus one that seems to threaten to return and never does, Rambo). Escape Plan was a film that few seem to remember, despite its notable Stallone/Schwarzenegger pairing, yet here we are, and with a third part already filmed, it’s not stopping soon.
Taking the first film’s concept of a prison which Stallone has to escape from, but then deciding not to trap him in there for a surprising large chunk of the runtime, Escape Plan 2 instead paints him as an all-seeing Prison Architect God. Instead of focusing on this supposed leading man of the franchise, we are introduced to his new employees, Shu (Huang Xiaoming) and Luke (Jesse Metcalfe), as they find themselves trapped in new super prison Hades and attempt to find a way out. They’re both pretty forgettable; the villains of the piece leave more of an impression, with Titus “My Face Is My Warrant” Welliver putting in a good shift as the prison warden.
Also along for the ride is Dave Bautista, who appears to have a clause in his contract that says he’ll only appear on-screen along with an Apple product. He constantly wears AirPods or types on a MacBook Pro while attempting to help Stallone do… something. His plot thread is pretty indecipherable and only gets more so when Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz turns up as a tech genius. Yes, Pete Wentz.
The bulk of the action is in Hades, however, and in pure Saturday night B-movie-and-beer fashion, it does an adequate job of holding the attention. You’re never that far away from a silly plot twist or fight sequence, although the obvious lack of budget is not hidden well by director Stephen C. Miller; the drab, low-light look and 90s-era production design fully bleeds into the feeling that you’d feel cheated if you saw this in a cinema. Escape Plan 2 is utterly inessential bobbins, but if you’re watching Escape Plan 2, you’re probably aware of that.
Escape Plan 2 is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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