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This is a sequel to the 2013 action-thriller Escape Plan, which buddied up Sylvester Stallone with Arnold Schwarzenegger in a prison breakout plotline. It hews roughly to the original recipe’s mix of geeky puzzle-making, blurrily shot martial-arts time killing and slightly baffling casting without improving the blend. Indeed, everything seems watered down and attenuated, creating a strangely stupefying product. The story barely makes sense, but after soon you stop caring and surrender to the blur of darkened sets with neon-bright spots of colour, electronic mood music and mumbled technobabble for dialogue.
The idea is that Stallone’s Ray Breslin, hero of Escape Plan, is a security consultant who specialises in working out how to burrow out of prisons. Seemingly, in the last few years, he has trained up a team of next-gen employees who just so happen to be played by actors with cross-quadrant and international market appeal. For instance, Guardians of the Galaxy MVP Dave Bautista is on hand as a Hummer-sized hard man, as is 50 Cent, playing a dapper chap who spends most of his time onscreen looking at a laptop and talking impenetrable nonsense.
Smouldering Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming is really the star here, playing a tough guy who is Breslin’s chosen heir apparent. Trapped in a hi-tech prison with his cousin (Chen Tang) and colleague Luke (Jesse Metcalfe), he must work out how the shifting Rubik’s Cube-like levels of the prison are structured in order to get out, which means making gnomic statements about “negative space”. Clearly, someone in the production took an elective class in art history at university, possibly even Stallone, who semi-famously fancies himself a bit of neo-expressionist painter, like Julian Schnabel. The whole film is as graceless, lurid and unnecessary as a Stallone painting – but without the winning naivety.
Source: The Guardian
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