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Steven C. Miller
Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Curtis Jackson
Writing Credits:
Miles Chapman2

When one of his team members goes missing, security expert Ray Breslin must break into a prison to rescue him.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 6/26/2018

• “Making Escape Plan 2: Hades” Featurette
• “Creating the Look of Escape Plan 2: Hades” Featurette
• “Building the Robot of Escape Plan 2: Hades” Featurette
• Cast/Crew Interviews
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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Escape Plan 2: Hades [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 5, 2018)

Five years after 2013’s Escape Plan hit screens, a sequel arrives. 2018’s Escape Plan 2: Hades brings us a direct-to-video affair minus one of the first flick’s leads.

Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) runs a security company in which he becomes “incarcerated” at various prisons to test their defenses. The job becomes personal when Ray’s co-worker Shu Ren (Xiaoming Huang) gets kidnapped and placed inside a technologically advanced facility known as “Hades”.

This means Ray needs to go back to his old tricks and infiltrate the prison. Along with Trent DeRosa (Dave Bautista), Ray attempts to break into Hades, rescue Shu Ren and come out alive.

Back when Escape Plan arrived in 2013, much of its appeal came from its pairing of Sylvester Stallone with Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie offered the first co-starring effort for the two 80s icons.

Alas, Schwarzenegger doesn’t show up for the sequel. In terms of box office appeal, though, Bautista might be a decent replacement, as the Guardians of the Galaxy movies may give him more appeal to modern-day audiences than the elderly Schwarzenegger.

Not that the casting of the leads matters, as in truth, Stallone and Bautista play supporting parts. He may not receive top billing, but Huang gets way more screen time than anyone else, and the story concentrates on Shu Ren to the general exclusion of the others.

Which seems likely to upset fans of the first film in a “bait and switch” vein. Everything about the movie’s publicity sets up Hades as another story about Ray, but it really isn’t, as he takes on a surprisingly small role.

Even if I ignore the “false advertising” side of things, Hades disappoints simply because it offers a poorly made film. From start to finish, it becomes a total mess.

I used to complain about handheld “Shakycam” photography all the time, but Hollywood seems to have largely reined in that tendency. No one alerted the creators of Hades, though, as it looks like it was shot by a monkey on a Red Bull binge.

This means the camera jumps and jitters and flits on a nearly constant basis, all for no logical cinematic reason. The camera can’t stay still even for sedate sequences, and the hyperactive photography turns into a massive distraction.

Editing and storytelling don’t help, as that part of the film rarely makes sense. Essentially Hades presents a collection of action scenes linked together by clumsy, awkward exposition.

This limits the movie’s flow and ensures that the tale feels cobbled together at random. Occasionally it feels like whole scenes go missing, as one sequence will ram into another in an abrupt manner that adds to the lack of coherence.

In terms of the actors, Huang shows a decent physical presence, but he can’t do much with his underwritten part, and the rest of the cast seem to mail in their performances. Admittedly, I can’t blame them, as the movie’s lack of character dimensionality leaves them with little room to prosper.

I can’t claim I much cared for the first Escape Plan, but compared to Hades, it looks like an action classic. The sequel gives us a shoddy, clumsy piece of junk.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio A-/ Bonus C+

Escape Plan 2: Hades appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a generally satisfying visual presentation.

Overall sharpness worked well. A few interiors showed a sliver of softness, but those instances remained unusual, as the majority of the film appeared accurate and concise.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also lacked any print flaws.

Hades featured a very stylized palette, with a distinct high-contrast feel that favored a mix of blues, greens, reds, purples, ambers and teals. These could lean a little too heavy at times, but they usually fleshed out the hues as expected within the chosen parameters.

Black levels also came across as deep and dense, while shadow detail was acceptably heavy without excessive thickness. This turned into a more than acceptable transfer.

The film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield presented a broad and consistently engaging affair. All five channels received a strong workout, as they offered a variety of elements throughout the movie.

Music showed good stereo separation and breadth, and effects seemed to be well placed and accurately localized. These aspects came from logical places and they moved neatly between speakers.

The surrounds played an active role in the film, but the many action pieces provided the best examples of the engulfing audio. All of the speakers came to life and the sound melded together well to create a clear and vibrant impression.

Audio quality also appeared to be top-notch. I thought dialogue always sounded warm and natural. The lines blended well with the action, and I heard no concerns related to intelligibility or edginess. Music sounded bright and showed good fidelity with fine dynamic range.

Effects were the most prominent aspect of the mix, as they presented accurate and bold elements that really created a fine mix. Bass response was loud and tight, and the low-end really shook the house at times – literally. Ultimately, Hades offered a fine audio track that really added to the movie.

Three featurettes appear here, and these start with Making Escape Plan 2: Hades. It runs nine minutes, 57 seconds and provides comments from director Steven C. Miller, director of photography Brandon Cox, producer Mark Canton, and actors Wes Chatham, Jesse Metcalfe, Xiaoming Huang, Jaime King and Dave Bautista.

“Making” looks at story/characters, cast and performances, and Miller’s work on the shoot. This becomes a pretty superficial piece.

Creating the Look of Escape Plan 2: Hades lasts three minutes, 32 seconds and features Miller, Cox, and production designer Niko Vilaivongs. We get brief notes about set and visual design. It’s too short to tell us much, but it includes a handful of good details.

Finally, we get the four-minute, four-second Building the Robot of Escape Plan 2: Hades. It offers notes from Miller, Vilaivongs, and Hex Mortis owner Joshua Cole.

As expected, “Robot” examines the design and creation of the movie’s automaton. Like “Look”, it doesn’t run long enough to deliver much substance, but we get a smattering of decent notes.

Under Cast/Crew Interviews, we find six segments. These cover “Director Steven C. Miller” (5:51), “Director of Photography Brandon Cox” (6:46), and actors “Dave Bautista” (15:03), “Wes Chatham” (7:18), “Jaime King” (13:14) and “Jesse Metcalfe” (5:40).

Across these, we hear about characters/story, cast and performances, sets and locations, visual design and photography, and influences. These interviews come from the same sessions that comprise the other featurettes, so you’ll find some familiar remarks. Much of the information focuses on happy talk, so don’t expect a ton of insights here.

The disc opens with ads for Future World, Bent, Spinning Man, Unlocked and Acts of Violence. No trailer for Hades appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Hades. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Even with the low expectations the first film created, Escape Plan 2: Hades disappoints. Poorly made and a total mess, the movie does next to nothing right. The Blu-ray brings us generally good picture with excellent audio and a mediocre set of supplements. Stay away from this terrible action movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.2 Stars Number of Votes: 5
2 3:
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