Escape Plan 2: Hades brings Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, and 50 Cent to the bottom of the barrel and the top of Paramount Plus. Action stars like Sly enjoy long, varied careers. The man behind Rocky and Rambo has forgotten more terrible projects than most actors ever appear in. The sad truth is that a recognizable name can sell any awful project. The funniest downside of that approach is that a star like Sylvester Stallone has no reason to hold his tongue.
Sylvester Stallone’s Second Escape Plan Finds a Way Out
Escape Plan dropped in 2013, selling itself almost entirely on Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s names. Schwarzenegger didn’t return for the sequel, Escape Plan 2: Hades, which evaded theaters by releasing straight-to-DVD in 2018. At least, it only hit home media in the US. Russian and Chinese theaters displayed the film. It earned $17 million in foreign theaters and $4.2 million in the US, barely making back its budget. Despite its theatrical release, the film didn’t earn its current streaming success in Russia or China. Sylvester Stallone’s unloved sequel is a Paramount Plus hit through Latin American viewers. Its limited box office success did little to soothe the critical burn. Escape Plan 2 has an 8% positive rating from 27 critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences offered 15%. It deserves the hate. Escape Plan 2 is insufferable, but the star-studded cast brought fans to the theater in 2018 and Paramount in 2024.
I think summarizing the plot of Escape Plan 2 is pointless. It’s a mess of acronyms, nicknames, and terrible action scenes. Sylvester Stallone stars in several better blockbusters on Paramount. His “old guys can still fight” drama Tulsa King boasts better set pieces. The appeal of Escape Plan reaches no further than the names on the poster. I’m not a fan, but Stallone’s distaste for the film dwarfs mine. In an Instagram post from 2019, Sly called Escape Plan 2 “the most horribly produced film I have ever had the misfortune to be in.” The post is also a promotion for the sequel. Consider the implications of a performer who has been in over 80 features publically proclaiming one as the worst production he’s been a part of. I don’t think he cares whether one of his films is trending on Paramount, but this one would probably feel bittersweet.
Escape Plan 2: Hades has no notable merits. It’s a hilarious waste of time made unfunny by the nightmare several stars must have gone through to create it. Stallone’s follow-up, Escape Plan: The Extractors, is better than its predecessor but still far below any given mediocre action film. Neither is worth watching except as a comedic romp with friends. Escape Plan 2 is a mess, but clearly, someone got something out of it. Maybe any bad movie can evade being forgotten with the right streaming platform.