Review by Bradley Smith
For Escape Plan 3, I was pleasantly surprised… that I received a free copy of the Blu-ray. Makes it much easier to review than the streaming links or even attending a theater screening; not that I dislike those options. I just hope the digital copy works when the movie is “released”; I still prefer physical copies, but after the fire last year, I have learned to like the backups.
As for the movie, I enjoyed it on some levels. There are enough thrilling action scenes, fight scenes, and explosions to satisfy action, wrestling, and/or MMA fans. There are also plenty of fine actors and a classic revenge narrative. Like the second movie, the story works as a standalone film while also functioning as a direct continuation of the first movie; there are flashbacks featuring all you need to know that I assume were taken from the first movie. Somewhat disappointingly (since I saw the second movie, but not the first), this third entry barely touches on the second movie despite the setup at the end of the second.
Ray Breslin (Stallone) is back to take on another prison. This time, instead of a new high tech underground prison, Ray is hired to rescue the daughter of a Hong Kong tech mogul from an old abandoned prison, whose exterior was used in the film Shawshank Redemption, known as Devil’s Station. She and a few others are being held by Lester Clark, Jr, played by an unrecognizable Devon Sawa (Final Destination, Eminem’s Stan video); if you have seen the first film, the name “Lester Clark, Jr.” is probably a big clue about his motives in this film. Suffice it to say, Sawa makes a terrifyingly realistic villain. Trent (Dave Bautista) and Hush (Curtis “50 cent” Jackson) are also back though the latter kinda disappears for a lot of the movie.
Given that it has only been about a year since the last movie, it probably comes as no surprise that some of the movie feels rushed, which is practically confirmed in the Blu-ray bonus features. For example, trying to keep spoilers at a minimum, there is at least one death that I feel should have ratcheted up the emotional impact of the climax and finale, but it barely gets mentioned almost as an afterthought. Sure, there is a big showdown during the climax, but that could have resulted from the kidnappings and Stallone wandering around underground tunnels for a quarter of the movie. Most of the focus is understandably on the well-choreographed fighting; that seems to be the main draw for both audiences and cast and crew.
The bonus features are a nice supplement. Again, rushing was the name of the game, but the two bonus features included are two of my favorite types: a behind the scenes featurette and a commentary track featuring director John Herzfeld and actor Devon Sawa with an appearance by Daniel Bernhardt and a short segment with Stallone that was clearly prerecorded and awkwardly edited into the commentary. Both bonuses were interesting and/or fun; you get some insight into the fights, the prison and its history, and the methods of the actors. Overall, this is a worthwhile movie.
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