Escape Plan 2 (1 star)

Escape Plan 2

Sylvester Stallone and 50 Cent return for a deathly dull and ludicrous sequel

In the overpopulated kingdom of unnecessary sequels, Escape Plan 2 now reigns supreme. This ludicrous, deathly dull follow-up to the 2013 actioner surely only exists because of the big business done by the first film in Asia, which will explain this story's Chinese locations and presence of superstar Huang Xiaoming. Everything else in Miles Chapman's screenplay is, however, totally inexplicable. It's no wonder that original star Arnold Schwarzenegger has sensibly given it a wide berth.

Arnie's co-star Sylvester Stallone has made the decision to return as the mumbling Ray Breslin, who is still making a living designing high-tech, inescapable prisons. After an initial, incomprehensible action sequence (one of many) in which someone dies, Ray fires moody employee Jaspar (Wes Chatham) for being more interested in his algorithms than working as a team. Meanwhile, a second employee Shu Ren (Huang) is seized while on a trip to Shanghai and thrown into an impenetrable jail called Hades. The two things are, of course, connected.

Despite its claims of cutting-edge technology, Hades is nothing more than a concrete room with flashing blue lights in which terrified inmates are forced to fight each other over and over and over again, usually in wobbly hand-held close-up, for reasons that are never explained. Cutaways to Ray salivating over another colleague, Abigail (Jaime King), and slow-motion, soft-focus flashbacks in which Shu Ren recalls Ray's advice about trusting your instincts and 'moving as one' only add to the confusion.

Throw in a bemusing performance from 50 Cent, returning as an operative called Hush, and Titus Welliver as a bizarre supervillain who demands to be called 'The Zookeeper', and it's absolutely no surprise that Escape Plan 2 went straight to VOD in the US. (Contrastingly, it's something of a shock that a third instalment is already in the works.) While the first film may just about have passed as entertainment, this is complete and utter drivel that will have audiences desperately looking for the exit.

Limited release from Fri 20 Jul.

Escape Plan II

  • 1 star
  • 2018
  • China / USA
  • 1h 36min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Steven C. Miller
  • Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Xiaoming Huang
  • UK release: 20 July 2018

Years after accomplishing the impossible escape, Ray Breslin (Stallone) assembles a new security force, but one of its members goes missing.