The first instalment of Escape Plan came our way in 2013, and it was the first time Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger came together for a non-Expendables related project. With a strong Arnold-Sly presence, Mikael Håfström accentuated the positives and hid the negatives as best as he could. It proved to be a relatively entertaining action flick. Unfortunately, Escape Plan 3 does not have Arnold. It fails to copy Mikael’s blueprint, and quite frankly, fails in almost every area imaginable.
Escape Plan 3 tells the story of Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone), who is forced to break into a dangerous prison near Belarus to rescue Daya Zhang (Malese Jow), the daughter of a Chinese tech mogul, and his girlfriend Abigail (Jamie King). However, Ray is not battling against any old foe. The kidnapper and orchestrator of this evil plan is Lester Clark Jr. (Devon Sawa), the son of Lester Clark, the man who betrayed Ray in the original film.
The film opens with a ridiculously long montage scene that shows parts of Ohio, and how many people are poor and unemployed in the state. Ohio’s high population of unemployment has nothing to do with the story. Lester and his goons then kidnap Daya. Lester also places a memory stick that has Ray’s name on it in the pocket of Daya’s security guard Bao Yung (Harry Shum, Jr.).
Ray, who has just coincidentally bumped into Daya’s former security guard and boyfriend Shen Lo (Max Zhang), receives the memory stick from Bao. They then create a plan to rescue her from the prison. To make matters worse, though, the bad guys kidnap Abigail as well. Yes, it’s an opening full of jumpy scenes and confusing events. One would think Avengers: Endgame would have a more confusing opening. But somehow, Escape Plan 3 makes for a far messier narrative by throwing three films worth of stories into a thirty-minute-window.
After taking the audience in ten different directions, the film does finally manage to get to its basic premise of Stallone and his team breaking into a prison. Unfortunately, by this point, we’ve already seen far too much bad acting, hardly any of our beloved hero Sylvester Stallone, and very few action scenes. Plus, we have too many scenes where we do not get a chance to digest the information coming our way. The majority of Lester’s scenes are him going from one horrible line of dialogue to another. In a film where audiences desperately need a moment to recover and digest the stupidity, they do not get one.
The climax has its fair share of cheesy moments. However, instead of having the luxury of Stallone and Arnold to pull off such scenes, far less charismatic actors fail miserably. Also, Stallone’s supposedly intelligent character somehow turns into somewhat of a fool. During the final fight scene, he easily gets wound up and charges at Lester, whose terrible aim fails to hit Ray with a meaningful gunshot.
Shen Lo is also reunited with his former girlfriend Daya Zhang, but besides a brief conversation Daya has at the beginning of the film, there’s no real focus on their history, making it difficult to invest in these two characters coming together.
Dave Bautista’s Trent DeRosa proves to be the only entertaining part in Escape Plan 3. He’s the only character that has a shred of charm and humour. Plus, his ridiculous and badass entrance into the prison is easily the highlight of the 87-minute duration.
In the end, despite attempting to build a story around the original, Escape Plan 3 manages to push the franchise even further away from its reasonably successful first instalment. If anything, the pain and disappointment on Stallone’s face at the end of the prison fight scene show the pain and disappointment he and the audience felt after experiencing Escape Plan 3.
Dir: John Herzfeld
Scr: John Herzfeld, Miles Chapman
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Jamie King, Curtis Jackson, Max Zhang, Harry Shum, Jr., Malese Jow, Devon Sawa
Runtime: 87 Minutes.
Signature Entertainment presents Escape Plan 3 on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital & Boxset HD 19th August