Run-of-the-mill action from aging Stallone

Escape Plan 2, with Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Jaime King. Directed by Steven C Miller.

3.5/5

BUSTING OUT: Security expert Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) gets help from an old pal, Trent DeRosa (Dave Bautista) in ‘Escape Plan 2’, now showing at Rosehill Cinema

Although he gets top billing, Sylvester Stallone takes on more of a supporting role in this sequel to the 2013 Escape Plan, which also featured Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Rather, its his younger team of security operatives that are front and centre, while Stallone is more in the role of “Charlie”, from Charlie’s Angels.

The original Escape Plan was an enjoyable movie, with verbal sparring and physical action between two of Hollywood’s most famous action stars.

In the US, the sequel went straight to DVD, which doesn’t say much for any faith in its box office appeal. It was released in theatres in China and Russia, and did not do well.

Stallone has aged, like all of us, but he has tried to hide it with plastic surgery. It’s not a good look, especially in some scenes where the lighting is not flattering.

Stallone plays Ray Breslin, who managed to escape from a notorious private prison called The Tomb in the first movie. In the wake of that, he has set up a security company which appears to be in the business of rescuing hostages, from the opening scenes in Chechnya.

But the mission goes wrong and a hostage is killed. Breslin pins the blame on Jasper Kimbral (Wes Chatham), for relying on a computer algorithm rather than teamwork with his fellow operatives Shu Ren (Huang Xiaoming) and Luke Graves (Jesse Metcalfe).

It’s a giveaway that we’ll be seeing the aggrieved Kimbral later as Breslin’s revenge-seeking nemesis.

A martial arts master, Shu is asked to provide protection for his wealthy inventor cousin Yusheng, who has patented a computer programme with deadly potential. After refusing a buy-out from tech giant Ruscho, Yusheng’s life is in peril.

Shu fights off a horde of masked men in Bangkok, Thailand, but is taken down by tasers. He and Yusheng wake up in a top secret maximum security prison called Hades, where the inmates have to fight in an arena for privileges, and are also tortured by electric shocks. It’s all an elaborate scheme by the people controlling the prison to force valuable information out of certain inmates.

We learn who the key inmates are, including three ghoulish looking men who call themselves Legion, but as for the masses, the reason for their incarceration remains a mystery.

Trying to find Shu, Luke is also outwitted and put in the same prison. But Breslin also calls on old ally, Trent DeRosa (a welcome appearance by Dave Bautista) for assistance.

It’s inevitable that Breslin himself will end up getting locked up, but by his own design, as it’s easier breaking out than breaking in.

The climax points to a third movie, to find the people responsible for both The Tomb and Hades.

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