Hong Kong has just theatrically released this VOD film since this week (June 28) even though Blu-ray discs are already available from Mainland China before its theatrical release. What audience expected for this film was the action star Sylvester Stallone (1946-) who played the protagonist Ray Breslin in The Escape Plan (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, 2013).
The story of this China-US coproduction VOD film is that Ray Breslin's team is to break politically important personnel out of the world's notorious prisons. After Ray's trusted employee Shu Ren (Mainland Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming) kidnapped and prisoned in the most elaborated prison on the earth 'The Hades', Ray Breslin and its team assist Shu Ren's escape.
This is actually a boring and money wasted movie sequel. There are several reasons for this.
1. Prison should not be 'colosseum'. This VOD film is full of colosseum scenes however audiences cannot understand why there is a prison like that. This lack of reality and context is something causes audiences escaping from the theatre.
2. Antagonist Jaspar Cimbaal's motivation is confusing. The antagonist Jasper (played by Wes Chatham) is just want to manage the cutting edge prison on the earth? or just revenge Ray Breslin for firing him? The antagonist does not show the strongest and clearest desire to achieve anything.
3. Who is the main protagonist? Shu Ren or Ray Breslin? Audiences just want to see Sylvester Stallone's action film however Shu Ren's acting is just mechanically doing Kung Fu actions only. He is not able to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger for this film franchise.
The most successful China-US coproduction in recent years is Geo Storm (2017). The Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) and The Escape Plan 2 : Hades (2018) are proved to be major failures. At the end of this film, audiences are not able to understand what the film is about. It is not a story-telling film but it is a martial arts game. We just only saw endlessly colosseum-like prison, confusion and vagueness of character motivations and unbalance between Stallone and Huang Xiaoming's appearances. This VOD film is not only a waste of money but it is also a waste of filmmaking resources. Audiences need escape plan from this franchise.
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