Sunday, 22 July 2018

Escape Plan 2: Hades ★☆☆☆☆


‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’, directed by Steven C. Miller, is the sequel to ‘Escape Plan’ and is out now on DVD. Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) is the leader of a team of elite security specialists who are able to break people out of any prison, even if maximum security. After a mission doesn’t quite go to plan, new guy Jasper (Wes Chatham) is removed from the group for taking a risk that didn’t quite pay off. The next mission to face the team is an unfortunate one, as Breslin’s most trusted operative, Shu (Xiaoming Huang), is kidnapped due to the actions on his brother Yusheng (Chen Tang). FInding themselves trapped in the most elaborate prison known to man, the two brothers have to rely on Breslin and his team to help break them out.


The original ‘Escape Plan’ wasn’t exactly brilliant, so I didn’t have high hopes for this one. Which was probably a good thing, though somehow the film still managed to disappoint. It’s hard to know where to start, but the main issue was really that the plot just wasn’t that interesting - it was hard to become invested because I didn’t really like any of the characters, and they didn’t develop much over the course of the film. The acting wasn’t good either, and so this made it even harder to want to watch the characters succeed.

The filming was also particularly bad, and perhaps even the worst I’ve seen this year. The first part felt like it an extreme version of the Nashville filter from Instagram over it, and once we got inside the prison it somehow went even more downhill. The prison itself was designed to be futuristic and purely technological, yet it came out looking like a budget ‘Tron’. The strobe lighting encased in every wall was so lurid at points it actually started to give me a bit of a headache, which as you can imagine was rather distracting from the story. 

It also didn’t help that the filming technique was shoddy at best (again not helping the headache), and the CGI so terrible that flames in the first scene were just blobs of colour on the screen, and the electrocution within the prison felt reminiscent of the 80s. Every so often the scenes would cut to these bizarre CGI graphics mid-conversation, and it just looked so amateur. There were a couple of shots that could have looked quite good, particularly once the obvious twist was revealed near the middle, but they were dwarfed by the rest of the failings within the film.

A lot of it was just cringe-inducing, with lacklustre writing and a whole collection of different clichés and tropes that it really didn’t need, such as terrible one-liners and explanations of backstory done so obviously that it was almost embarrassing to listen to. A definite case of telling rather than showing, which to me is an immediate no when it comes to any form of storytelling. I think the film also wins “Worst soundtrack of the year” from me as well - the music was far too loud compared to the rest of the audio (leading to a lot of misheard lines), and it was so intense and grating that all it did was take away from each scene. Sometimes less is definitely more, and the crew could really have learnt from that lesson with this one.


I like to think that I’m usually quite lenient when I review films, but I really struggled to come up with something positive for ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’. There’s definitely better ways to spend a $20m budget and it’s shocking that such a bad film can be produced when there are much better ones out there with budgets at less than a tenth of that. My advice? Avoid this one, or you might find you’ll also need a quick escape.

★☆☆☆☆
Hannah Read

Escape Plan 2: Hades at CeX




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