Wednesday, July 11, 2018

‘Blu-ray or Bust’ - ESCAPE PLAN 2: HADES

‘Blu-ray or Bust’

After watching an unnecessary sequel to an unnecessary film, I find myself in an interesting frame of mind: I want to rip the film apart, but I must take this job seriously.  Right?

In the case of ESCAPE PLAN 2, I want to give props to whoever assembled the cast, and I want to give props to the special effects team.  Take a look at the cast: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Xiaoming Huang, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Wes Chatham (he plays the awesome Amos Burton on “The Expanse”, one of THE BEST current science fiction shows), and Titus Welliver (“Bosch”).  And the majority of the effects scream “Studio Event Picture!”.  But if you take a gallon of baboon vomit and dump it in a shiny toilet decked out with diamonds and laser effects, you still just have a stinky toilet bowl of regurgitated bananas and masticated rat guts.  And yes, I know what baboons eat—I totally just Googled it.

You see, not only was this “film” a straight-to-VOD and disc affair, it is a follow up to a film that only made half of its base budget back in the U.S.  For some reason, however, international audiences ate that first film up, giving the studio cause to make a follow up, albeit five years later.

Before I get started having some real fun, a brief synopsis: after half of Breslin’s (Stallone) security team is kidnapped and thrown into a high-tech and totally hidden prison, he makes a plan to break everyone out with some help from the remaining team and Trent Derosa (Bautista).  There is also some plot concerning a satellite that can take over every computer on the planet, something about Hades having a big battle area called “The Zoo”, and something about teamwork making the dream work.

Now, for the synopsis that makes the most sense, complete with spoilers (because if you waste the money or the time on this Throne o’ Tossed Cookies, you deserve spoilers, dammit).


Rocky gets thrown into the most electrified prison ever to rescue a Chinese dude named “Shoe” from that badass dude from “The Expanse”, a robot, and Harry Bosch, who all of a sudden likes to play with knives when faced with a martial arts expert while everyone else has guns.  On the outside, 50 Cent is a computer nerd who talks to Rocky literally through his teeth, and Drax saves the day with a Humvee, two machine guns, and one funny line about pajamas.  Did I mention there was a robot?  There’s actually two robots, but you only see one of them once, and the other one is held up by a bunch of important looking wires, tubes, and fancy duct tape.

There is also THE MOST overbearing score ever conceived; in most films, the score is used to evoke emotion, or to emphasize plot points or actions.  Here, the sound mixer (actually, the smartest person in post-production, if you ask me) uses the score by The Newton Brothers (OUIJA) to try and drown out all of the stupid dialogue written by Miles Chapman.  Seriously, it’s that loud—so loud that it could only have been done on purpose.

If you are wondering, Stallone and Bautista get minimal screen time; this mess keeps its focus on Shu (Huang), who is wonderful to watch when he is beating other people up.  Or thinking—apparently, the best way to show what is going through his head is with detailed special effects that look like blueprints and specs filtered through a computer’s acid trip.  And while it is nice to see Mr. Chatham getting work outside of “The Expanse”, I kind of wish he hadn’t.  Same with Welliver.  Oh, hell—I wish every great actor in this film had better agents, or at least didn’t lose whatever bet landed them in this puke pail to begin with.

If you are a big fan of those 80’s straight-to-video flicks, or if you like hitting yourself in the crotch with bricks wrapped in barbed wire and past due bills, this is the film for you.  And you should also rejoice, because ESCAPE PLAN 3 is currently in post-production!  But for everyone else that doesn’t want to see what that angry monkey with the red butt yodeled into the porcelain megaphone, stay away.

Film Grade: D-
Special Features: There are three, but, really, why?
Blu-ray Necessary: Oh hell no!

- T.S. Kummelman

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