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The latest instalment in this (relatively) low-budget martial arts and machismo franchise anchored to Sylvester Stallone’s protagonist Ray Breslin further dilutes the ingredients that made the first film, Escape Plan, and to a lesser extent its sequel moderately interesting.
In the earlier films, there was a geeky interest in problem-solving and puzzles threaded through the usual fisticuffs, gun play and grunting as Breslin and his cronies, including Dave Bautista and 50 Cent, sought to break hostages or compatriots out of highly secure prisons. This time round, they work out that captured Chinese tech heiress Daya Zhang (Melise), Breslin’s girlfriend Abby (Jaime King) and others are being held in a black-site prison in Latvia just by spotting an icon and some Cyrillic lettering on a wall – and, hey presto, they’re off to bust them all out.
The most telling thing about this film is the way it tries (as did Escape Plan 2) to grow its appeal with Asian audiences by featuring non-Caucasian stars, such as skilled screen fighter Jin Zhang (best known in the west for The Grandmaster) and rising actor/pinup Harry Shum Jr (from Crazy Rich Asians). And yet, fascinatingly, at the same time, the key that ignites the plot is that well-meaning rich girl Daya gets kidnapped in Mansfield, Ohio, where she had hoped to get her phone-manufacturer daddy to open a new factory in the area, thus helping the rust-belt citizens get back on their feet and improve the image of Chinese brands.
In a weird way, the film is targeted both at the economically dispossessed people who voted for Trump because of anger about what the Chinese were supposedly doing to the American economy and at the Chinese themselves. The ideological tension is never quite resolved, but this dynamic offers something to contemplate as the characters work through an entirely predictable tournament of combat. Also, Stallone’s hair looks especially weird.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Escape Plan 3 review – Stallone back for more macho mayhem | Thrillers (film)