Director: Steven C. Miller
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Huang Xiaoming
Release Date: June 29, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Years after he fought his way out of an inescapable prison, Ray Breslin (Academy Award® nominee and Golden Globe® winner Sylvester Stallone) has organized a new top-notch security force. But when one of his team members goes missing, Breslin must return to the hell he once escaped from to save his friend from the prison’s brutal human battleground known as Hades.
Years after being betrayed and forced to fight his way out of the seemingly inescapable prison The Tomb, prison security expert Ray Breslin (Stallone) has now established his own elite security company filled with old friends and some talented new recruits. But after members of his team begin going missing and are thrust into a new, high tech prison known as Hades where they are forced to compete with their fellow inmates in a massive battlefield that provides the only activity or entertainment within, Breslin and the remaining members of his team must dig deep and call in some old friends in order to find a way inside of this mysterious new prison so that he can reclaim his team and hopefully uncover the truth about the mysterious and almost futuristic prison.
Directed this time around by Steven C. Miller (Silent Night, Marauders) from a screenplay by returning writer Miles Chapman who also co-wrote the first film from his own story, Miller does a pretty solid job at the helm of ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’ smoothly guiding along the action and almost futuristic-like fun. The sequel includes a cast comprised of a couple returning individuals and numerous newcomers to the series and includes Sylvester Stallone (Rocky), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Huang Xiaoming (IP Man 2), Jaime King (Sin City), Curtis Jackson (TV’s Power), Titus Welliver (TV’s Bosch), Jesse Metcalfe (TV’s Dallas), Wes Chatham (TV’s The Expanse), Lydia Hull (Gotti) and more, the majority providing capable enough performances in each of their respective roles for the most part.
‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’ certainly has its share of differences from the original, such as a larger focus on hand to hand combat, only two returning cast members (Stallone & Jackson) and pushing our lead character Ray Breslin into a more of a supporting role instead of keeping him front and center. It definitely delivers some enjoyable action sequences and still largely resolves around a prison escape naturally, but also shies away from much of the curiosity and almost mystery-like elements of its predecessor, instead choosing to concentrate more specifically on the action and escape elements this time around. Frequent b-movie action director Steven C. Miller takes over at the helm for the sequel and does a capable job of guiding along the tale, complimented by a couple returning faces and plenty of newcomers. While undeniably lacking compared to the first film, I would still encourage folks that enjoyed the original or that are fans of Stallone to try and give ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’ a watch at some point when it’s convenient, although it probably isn’t necessary to go out of your way to immediately do so. It’s a decent enough follow-up that brings plenty of action and fun to the table, albeit little else. For the fellow action fans it should at least prove to be a sufficiently entertaining 90 minute ride.
Overall, ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’ serves up some enjoyable and fairly well done action sequences, along with some light humor, a couple familiar faces and of course a new, more secure prison for our heroes to try and find a way out of. It certainly has some issues and never finds its way to becoming nearly as fun and solid as its predecessor, but I would still recommend ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’ to those who enjoyed the original and tend to appreciate some mindless, action packed fun. Although I wouldn’t suggest going out of your way to check it out right away unless you’re already itching to do so, and it definitely wouldn’t hurt to try and rent it or catch it when it hits your favorite streaming provider as opposed to making a blind purchase of the Blu-ray just to be safe.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks great as a whole and provides a sharp, detailed and at times vibrantly colorful presentation with not notable faults or issues to be found throughout. It holds up impressively even during the many darkly lit and fast moving action sequences, never allowing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation that looks consistently great from start to finish and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack serves up a crisp, clean and fairly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It continually takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send gunshots, debris and other action effects throughout the various speakers regularly, along with plenty of random audio effects within the prison and more, while never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a more than competent 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that compliments the film nicely and consistently adds some additional fun to the experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Escape Plan 2: Hades’ includes a few solid extras that fans of the franchise should enjoy. Included on the release is a collection of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the film to life and including interviews/comments with some of the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Making Escape Plan 2: Hades’ (running approximately 10 minutes in length), ‘Creating the Look of Escape Plan 2: Hades’ (running approximately 3 minutes) and ‘Building the Robot of Escape Plan 2: Hades’ (approximately 4 minutes). We are also treated to ‘Cast and Crew Interviews with Director Steven C. Miller, Dave Bautista, Wes Chatham, Jamie King, Jesse Metcalf and Director of Photography Brandon Cox’ (approximately 54 minutes altogether).