This 2019 American action thriller is directed by John Herzfeld and a sequel to 2018s ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’ (2018). It stars Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Jaime King, Max Zhang and Devon Sawa.
Security expert Ray Breslin (Stallone) and his team including Hush (Jackson) and Trent (Bautista) are tasked to break out the kidnapped daughter of a Hong Kong businessman from a Latvian prison.
Breslin is trying to stay out of the dangerous prison game, but when his girlfriend Abi (King) is also kidnapped and held in the prison, he takes the job.
It becomes clear the man behind the kidnappings, Lester Clark Jr (Sawa), is out for revenge against Breslin, and so he must use his team and the few he can trust to help rescue their own…
This is the third outing on a franchise – if you can call it that- as well as the finale that gets worse each time. It plays out like a contract none of the stars can get out, and so are tied in to make this film whatever their view.
Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up with Stallone for the first and best ‘Escape Plan’ back in 2013 and it served the purpose. It brought two action heroes together for the first time, had a solid story and good supporting cast. Done. The end…
…But no. Following the DTD ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’ last year, we see nothing at all of the original, bar the reluctant few cast returning. Our “heroes” are now just extracting people from prisons, and there’s very little escape planning left to do.
Cue a boring 85mins of jerky cameras, drab lighting, mumbling, shooting, fighting and Dr Evil-style villainous monologues from Sawa who tried to bring the arc back from the first film to this third one, making it some poetic journey we’ve taken over five years. This is a by the book film where good guys are kidnapped, bad guys wait for the other good guys to find them, and then there is a fight and everything works out in the end. Yet Stallone and Bautista (who only does GOOD movies, remember?) appear here and there, giving some exposition to the action that follows and being there to shoot guns and take the glory and make their money from being listed as leads.
Much like ‘Hades’, this seems to be very influenced by the Chinese market, with many Chinese leads such as Max Zhang, Harry Shum Jr. and Malese Jow. These talented few do their best to add the real heart of the story, the plot points, the action and the character development to a film that is otherwise dead on arrival. Some of the action may look good, but it’s surrounded by limp performances and production on the whole.
Stallone looks bored (eager to crack on with ‘Rambo: Last Blood probably) and Bautista feels more wooden than usual (probably engaged in Twitter exchanges with anti-James Gunn fans). They don’t want to be here, and don’t need to be here.
This offers nothing new to the…franchise and slips under the radar without as much as a rattle to stir you. You’ll wish you had an extractor to extract you from this 90s-esque direct to video effort.