Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)

Director: Steven C Miller

Writer: Miles Chapman (Screenplay)

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Dave Bautista, Xiaoming Huang, Jesse Metcalfe, 50 Cent, Wes Chatham, Chen Tang, Jaime King

 

Plot: Ray Breslin manages an elite team of security specialists trained in the art of breaking people out of the world’s most impenetrable prisons. When his most trusted operative, Shu Ren, is kidnapped and disappears inside the most elaborate prison ever built, entirely computerized and constantly changing shape, Ray must track him down with the help of some of his former friends.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Boring

 

Story: Escape Plan 2: Hades starts as Ray Breslin (Stallone) sees his team Shu Ren (Huang), Like (Metcalfe) and Kimbral (Chatham) go wrong resulting in the death of a team member. We pick up one year later we travel to Bangkok where Shu Ren is watching over his cousin Yusheng Ma (Tang) and things don’t go well as Shu Ren ends up in Hades, a new state of the art prison known for a zoo for inmates to fight.

Shu Ren uses his training to survive and plan the escape with Luke, while Ray looks to make contacts including Trent DeRosa (Bautista) to help conduct the big rescue attempt in the new prison that no one seems to be able to escape from.

 

Thoughts on Escape Plan 2 Hades

 

Characters – Ray Breslin is the man that runs the security team, we met him in the first film, he has created a team that can do the job for him and for the most part in this movie he is trying to figure out where his team is and how to get them out, his narration to Shu keeps him relevant in this film. Trent DeRosa is an old friend of Ray, he has the connections in Bangkok which brings him to Ray side, though he is mostly just here for the tech side of things. Shu Ren is the student of Ray, he has been learning how to conduct himself in the solution of the escaping from prisons and now he must put all his lessons together to figure out how to escape. Luke is another student, he is reckless as times, but will work for the team, Hush is the connection around the world with his hacking skills and Jasper is the teammate that gets let go only to end up in the prison with Shu Ren.

PerformancesWhen we come to the performance, we need to understand certain factors, first Xiaoming Huang is the star of this movie and he is good, but his character is written to handle things strongly, but seems to come off weak when it comes to knowing what he is doing. Stallone is mostly the mentor in this film, he gets a couple of scenes though he isn’t involved anywhere near as much as the first film and looks like he is here for a pay check. Dave Bautista is one of the hottest action stars in Hollywood now, he is completely wasted in this role, which is sad because he could be the star is written correctly.

StoryThe story continues to follow the lives of security expert Ray Breslin who along with his team can break out of any prison, we enter a new computerised prison with state of the art protection system which should be uncrackable. We do focus on one of the students Shu Ren more than Ray this time as he goes over the rules we learnt first time in the battle to survive the prison. If we look at the story, it does feel slow paced for the most part and doesn’t get going enough, we compromise on characters we know to cover up the lack of screen time the originals have and the prison never really feels like a prison. The whole escape seems rushed and you will not believe in anyway they won’t make it. 

ActionThe action when it comes to the fight sequences are good and you can see they bought in Xiaoming Huang for the fight sequences. The shooting scenes are fine, but nothing overly interesting.

SettingsThe film puts us in the new prison, though it is so computerised it never feels like it would be real. Outside the prison it is all generically forgettable location.

Special EffectsThe effects are not impressive either, because we do get moments of computerised electricity to contain that look bad.


Scene of the Movie –
Give big Dave a gun.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Ray is barely in the film.

Final ThoughtsThis is a bad sequel, it does come off slow and boring for the most part and is hugely miss sold on the idea Stallone is the star of the movie.

 

Overall: Sequel not worth watching.

Rating

 

 

Den of Thieves (2018)

Director: Christian Gudegast

Writer: Christian Gudegast (Screenplay) Christian Gudegast, Paul Scheuring (Story)

Starring: Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson Jr, 50 Cent, Meadow Williams, Maurice Compte, Brian Van Holt

 

Plot: A gritty crime saga which follows the lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Gritty Heist Movie

 

Story: Den of Thieves starts as we see how Merrimen (Schreiber) operates with his team, second in command Enson (50 Cent) and new comer driver Donnie Wilson (Jackson Jr) as they pull off their latest job, investigating this is major crimes officer Big Nick O’Brien (Butler) and his team, they don’t take prisoners, they take bodies.

After the opening heist the two sides know their enemy and Nick brings Donnie in to bring in to learn the plan, while Merrimen is planning the biggest heist ever heard off, the Federal Reserve Bank, will they manage to pull this off.

 

Thoughts on Den of Thieves

 

Characters – Big Nick is the leader of a major crime unit that is suffering with his own addiction, he goes outside the law to get answers and never plays by the rules, he is a good leader and seems to be the only cop in town that can think outside the box. Ray Merrimen is the leader of the heist team, former marine and prisoner that plans his heist down to perfection with his team, he will not go down without swinging. Donnie is the newest member of the team, hired for his driving skills, that he gets forced to work both sides by Big Nick or face jail for a third time.

PerformancesGerard Butler is on fine form here, this could easily be his best performance in years, yes this isn’t anything he can’t handle, but still he knows how to handle it. Pablo Schreiber is an actor I hadn’t heard off before, he does a good job opposite Butler, but his performance does feel like he needs to be a strong member of a team over the leader. O’Shea Jackson Jr is good in his role showing that he is going to be a name for years to come.

StoryThe story follows both sides of the law, the team preparing the heist and the police trying to figure out what the next target is. This work because we get to see both mindsets, but as both sides of the law are being painted as bad guy it makes it hard to support either side of them and this is affected with the opening sequence too. The twists that come in the story are going to be something that are not going to be too difficult to point out. This does however become an entertaining viewing experience.

Action/Crime/MysteryThe action sequences are very good, even if they are mostly big gun battles in the busy streets. The crime side of the film is how the heist unfolds which does help with the mystery side of the film as we see how it all unfolds.

SettingsLA is the setting, which is meant to have the highest bank robbery rating in the country, this works for the busy streets and divide between the sides of the city.

Special EffectsThe effects are very good when it comes to showing off the bullet effects which are brutal as you could imagine.


Scene of the Movie –
The final heist, it might be long, but it is edge of you seat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The opening sequence ruins us caring about the thieves.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good gritty heist movie, it rolls past with an over two hour run time and keeps us guessing until the final scene.

 

Overall: Great action crime movie.

Rating

 

 

Jake Gyllenhaal Weekend Southpaw (2015)

logooDirector: Antoine Fuqua

Writer: Kurt Sutter (Screenplay)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Oona Laurence, 50 Cent, Skylan Brooks, Naomie Harris, Victor Ortiz, Beau Knapp

Plot: Boxer Billy Hope turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services.

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

Verdict: Left Hook to the Heart

Story: Southpaw starts with Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal) defending his Light Heavyweight Title at Madison Square Gardens. When a wannabe challenger Miguel ‘Magic’ Escobar (Gomez) starts pushing Billy into a fight Billy wants to shut him up by demanding his manager Jordan Mains (50 Cent) to make the match happen.

When his wife Maureen (McAdams) is noticing him getting punch drunk from his matches she wants him to step back to spend time with his daughter Leila (Laurence) but Jordan is pushing three more fights.

When Escobar pushing Billy too far at a charity event an all out brawl ensues leading to a gun shot killing Maureen. This is just the beginning to the downward spiral Billy takes as he loses his money, his team and most tragic to him custody of his daughter.

We now watch how Billy must rebuild his life, career and reputation by turning to trainer Tick Wills (Whitaker), cleaning up his substance abuse to get his daughter back.

Southpaw gives us the traditional sports story of redemption but also offers up a fresh look at how our hero Billy reaches his redemption. We get a much more personal battle for Billy to go through which leads us to see how sports stars can lose everything. I will have to question how the story gives us thin sub-plots where we look at certain characters have things happen and everything just get done off camera, be it how the judge just seemed to go have your kid back, Hoopy story gets completely looked over and the promoter who could have been corrupt just getting ignored. On the sports side everything is almost perfect so I can’t complain but in the end certain things end up just getting left to us to go yeah that is ok.

Actor Review

Jake Gyllenhaal: Billy Hope is the light heavyweight champion of the world on top of the world but everything comes crashing down when his wife is killed. He loses his belt, his home and his daughter leaving him no choice but to clean up his act and regain the life he once had through hard work. Jake gives us yet another brilliant performance where he could easily get an Oscar nomination.billy

Rachel McAdams: Maureen Hope is the wife and whole world to Billy, she supports him in every fight while arranging his life. She wants Billy to retire or at least take a break because his style is going to leave him punch drunk. When she is killed the life of her family starts to fall apart. Rachel gives a good performance even if it is only a supporting role.maureen

Forest Whitaker: Tick Wills is a boxing trainer who reluctantly gives Billy a job, a chance to train to prove he is committed before letting him in the ring to learn a new style of fighting that plays to the defensive side Billy isn’t used to using. He has his own past which has lead him to be like Billy giving him the chance to redeem his own defeats in his past. Forest gives us a great performance as the man with a troubled past who gets a chance of redemption.ticks

Oona Laurence: Leila Hope is the daughter of Billy and Maureen who ends up going into custody of family services when Billy can’t handle his life without his wife. She is the motive behind everything Billy does as she is the only thing he really wants in life. Oona gives a brilliant performance from such a young starlet.leila

50 Cent: Jordan Mains is the promoter and manager of Billy who keeps trying to make his fighter continue fighting, he has a questionable motives and once Billy loses everything he teams up with the enemy Escobar. 50 Cent gives us a good supporting role as the promoter we are not sure about through the film.

Support Cast: Southpaw has a supporting cast that offer sub-plots that don’t completely get dealt with but each one does find a way to motive our leading characters.

Director Review: Antoine Fuqua Antoine gives us a brilliant sporting drama that shows how hard redemption can be to achieve.

Action: Southpaw keeps most of the action in the boxing ring giving us the real time fight scenes that all come off real throughout.

Drama: Southpaw brings us into a personal lives of the Hope family as we see them go through tragic events before having to grow and power through them.

Sports: Southpaw makes all the boxing look realistic from the moment they enter the ring.

Thriller: Southpaw keeps you wondering what will happen from the start to finish.

Settings: Southpaw creates all the settings that all work perfectly for the moments in the film from the fall from the top to the rise back.

Suggestion: Southpaw is one of the best films this year and should be watched by all. (Watch)

Best Part: Boxing all looks realistic.

Worst Part: Sub-plots do get forgotten.

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: You could get a few

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Oscar Chances: Jake could get an Oscar nod.

Box Office: $35 Million

Budget: $30 Million

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

Tagline: Believe In Hope.

Trivia: Antoine Fuqua had no money to pay James Horner to compose the film due to the films short budget. However, James didn’t care as he loved the idea of the film and decided to do it for free.

Overall: Brilliant sporting drama that is all about redemption

Ratingcard