Sylvester Stallone returns for Escape Plan 3, a far better flick than the sequel but still languishes behind the original. This serviceable action jaunt isn’t the best film ever made, but happily, it never pretends to be.
After security expert Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) is hired to rescue the kidnapped daughter Daya (Malese Jow) of a Hong Kong tech mogul from a formidable Latvian prison, Breslin’s girlfriend (Jaime King) is also captured. Now he and his team, including Trent DeRosa (Dave Bautista) and (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson), must pull off a deadly rescue mission to confront their sadistic foe and save the hostages before time runs out.
When a particular character dies in the film, it feels as if a little bit of the wind gets taken out of it as well. It is such a needless death that you wonder why it was included at all, as all of the characters involved seemed to already have the appropriate motivation to get those needed out of Devil’s Station. It feels like a low blow and becomes such a waste of a character.
Escape Plan 3 plays out as a direct sequel to the first Escape Plan, and it works far better than the sequel did and ends up being quite an enjoyable action vehicle. Though some characters are a tad wasted here. Bautista’s DeRosa is a prime example here. He states that he will be late, but he will make an impression and turns up with a shotgun, almost sci-fi, to handle the antagonists. It begs the question as to why he didn’t give his mates similar weapons at the start. Stallone goes about with a handgun, which seems a tad tame, no?
John Herzfeld and Miles Chapmans script leaves little room for manoeuvre and is very direct with its approach. We do not get a lot of time with the characters to see some development, and for such a maze of a complex, The Devils Station could have done with a bit more of a description or time for the audience to learn about it. Instead, we are thrown in and see that the security team guarding these prisoners watch everything off rudimentary equipment. More time with some characters would have been great to see their arcs flesh out a bit more.
As mentioned earlier, a decision is made that is just so poor from a story standpoint, and then it leaves so many questions unanswered. Lesters team begin killing off hostages BEFORE they try and figure out who might have access to Daya’s father’s company accounts. This trigger happy attitude isn’t always even either and will frustrate the audience.
Alas, this is an action film, sometimes in a movie like this, the story isn’t always the most important aspect of it. Escape Plan 3 does shine here, with audiences given a bountiful amount of activities to enjoy. Stunt Co-ordinator Clayton J. Barber does well by allowing a mixture of fighting to take place. Stallone and Bautista are not going to give us agile action. Their brutal pummelling style works well but can be a tad much if the film is just full of it. Having Jin Zhang bring something different to proceedings allows the film to have a bit more depth on the action front. While some of the cinematography for Zhang’s scenes could have been better to showcase the hit skillset, we still feel the impact of every hit well enough.
Acting-wise, we get what you pay for here as some characters play it very safe with their performances, but the apparent difference in quality in Stallone and Bautista allows for some charm and spark to come in. Bautista, though, is in this one for as long as Stallone was for the sequel (read, not very long); his presence is felt when he disappears from our screen. Devon Sawa, as our main antagonist Lester Clark Jr does okay in his role until looking menacing around Stallone. Big frowns and angry faces don’t quite cut it, sadly. His character always feels a little too on edge to believe. Also, seeing him and Stallone in the final battle is almost laugh out loud due to the size difference between them.
The only utterly strange thing about Escape Plan 3 is that it has almost 9-minute end credits roll with massive text stating who the producers, editors, and leading hitters of the production are. It really needs to be seen to be believed. By the way, there are close to 50 producers in some form for this film… Imagine if it won Best Film…
An obvious bit of budget-cutting see’s Stallone spends much of his time in the prisons sewer system that actually in it, couple that with some sparse set design. We have a film that is focused on the action and little else, and you know what? Sometimes that’s enough.
Signature Entertainment presents Escape Plan 3 on Amazon Prime Video on 2nd April.
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