How are Sylvester Stallone’s “Escape Plan” films rated from the worst to the best? As one of Sylvester Stallone’s many action series, the original “Escape Plan” debuted in 2013, where Stallone plays security expert Ray Breslin, who specializes in checking security parameters in prisons. The real advantage of the “Escape Plan” was the film, which marks the first screen team of Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger (not to mention their previous collaboration in the first two films of the franchise “The Expendables”).
Although “Escape Plan” was only a moderate success, it was followed by two video sequels, “Escape Plan 2: Hades” and “Escape Plan: Extractors”. Stallone returned as Breslin in both films, and in the two sequels, Breslin completed new missions in different prison complexes with new enemies and allies to send him on other challenging missions. While Schwarzenegger did not return in any of the “Escape Plan” sequels, 50 Cent returned as Breslin’s assistant to Silence with other action stars such as Dave Batista, Daniel Bernhardt and Max Zhang who joined him.
The moderate success of the Escape Plan franchise makes the series completely unique among other Stallone franchises, and the reception of the two sequels was definitely much weaker than that of their theatrical predecessor. Nevertheless, despite not reaching the same cult heights as the films Rocky, Rambo or The Expendables, Escape Plan brought its strengths to Stallone’s filmography as a prison action franchise. Here are three films of the “Escape Plan” trilogy, ranked from weakest to strongest.
Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)
Sylvester Stallone doesn’t really like “Escape Plan 2: Hades,” calling it “the most terribly produced movie I’ve ever had the misfortune to be in” on Instagram. “Hades” is a really serious downgrade compared to the original “Escape Plan” and a complete failure as one of Stallone’s prison fighters. In Hades, one of Ray Breslin’s security officers, Shu (Huan Xiaoming), ends up in a top-secret prison, where his cellmates and Breslin develop an escape plan. Although Stallone returns, and Dave Batista stars as Breslin’s ally Trent DeRosa, they are mostly on the sidelines and further away from the central story than one might expect.
Escape Plan 2: Aida’s flat script and subtle characters also turn the film into a chore, since none of the prison escape shenanigans, as in the original Escape Plan, arouses real enthusiasm among the audience. It might have been easier not to notice this if there were strong action sequences in the film, but the ones Hades offers are completely destroyed by the fast and chaotic editing, the mortal sin of action movies that somehow keeps stubbornly destroying promising efforts. Action films with live streaming on video are significantly more likely than before to surpass their theatrical counterparts these days, but despite the fact that this is a promising team of Sylvester Stallone and Dave Batista, “Escape Plan 2: Hades” is exactly what the term “straight to video” is intended for ridicule.
Escape Plan: Extractors (2019)
Considering how bad “Escape Plan: Hades” turned out to be, the existence of “Escape Plan: Extractors” is an impressive reduction in the odds against it. Despite the fact that “Escape Plan: Extractors” is better than “Hades”, it still remains a relatively mild action movie. In “Extractors,” Ray Breslin and Trent DeRosa return to another prison and a mission to find kidnapped people, along with Shen Lo (Max Zhang), a former bodyguard of a Hong Kong security firm. Thanks to the fact that “Extractors” brought martial artists like Zhang and Daniel Bernhardt from the “Blood Sport” franchise to the cast, the film at least largely compensates for the horribly edited combat scenes of its predecessor. Stallone and Batista also demonstrate their fighting skills more clearly in “Escape Plan: Extractors,” and the film features some generally solid fighting scenes, including combat scenes in which all four do their best.
At the same time, a lower budget (even to a greater extent than that of Hades) restrains the ambitions of the “Escape Plan: Extractors”, especially in the real prison in the film. Stallone and Batista are also relatively little used again, and although Zhang, Bernhardt and the supporting actors are doing everything they can, the much lower-level story of “Extractors” is not getting the proper boost. “Escape Plan: Extractors” is, ultimately, a downgrade of the franchise in terms of scale and, as a rule, a shadow of Stallone’s success in the Rocky films, but still an undeniable step forward compared to the lowest point of Hades. Although this is probably the last installment of the Escape Plan series, it still deserves praise.
Escape Plan (2013)
“Escape Plan” is the dream team of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, which viewers have been dreaming about since the days of “Terminator” and “Rambo”.