03rd Jul2019

‘Escape Plan 3: The Extractors’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Devon Sawa, Dave Bautista, 50 Cent, Jamie King | Written by John Herzfeld, Miles Chapman | Directed by John Herzfeld


Escape Plan 3: The Extractors, directed by John Herzfeld, is the third and final film in the not so good Escape Plan franchise that began in 2013 with a team-up of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and has somehow become a franchise and ended up receiving two direct-to-DVD ensembles with a cast of unknowns, and even weaker narratives. Shot back-to-back with the horrid and Stallone vacant second instalment Escape Plan 2: Hades, yet are both directed by two different directors, completes what is a disaster of a trilogy. The Extractors, thankfully, has nothing in common, in fact has ZERO connections to, its predecessor. Yet strangely acts as a direct sequel of sorts to the initial film released in 2013, confused yet? Herzfeld’s film follows Ray Breslin (Stallone) who is hired to find and rescue a daughter of a wealthy businessman, who has been kidnapped by a group of terrorists that have more in common with Breslin than he initially realises.

Escape Plan 3: The Extractors is nowhere near the despicable lows that its predecessor Hades fell. It is in actual fact a rather well-made thriller for what is essentially a low-grade direct-to-video venture. The performances and characters are the standard/middle of the road creation that have little charisma or talent to craft anything other than a simplistic and overly ordinary experience in the action genre. Stallone is sadly comatose throughout, with the pay-check far too enchanting to turn down at this point. He still has superb screen presence and bravado but the material he’s working with is not so de-similar to the garbage of the early 2000s, his downward career only saved by his redeeming rendition of the titular character in Rocky Balboa. With yet another instalment of Rambo around the corner and the direct-to-DVD features cropping up more and more in his filmography, it would seem that Stallone is once again going down the path of a downward career spiral.

The supporting cast, however, is almost non-existent. There is nothing here that is remotely interesting nor compelling. ’90s actor and Final Destination star Devon Sawa tries to inject some personality and gravitas to proceedings, yet his arc and motivation are downright absurd and poorly crafted. Dave Bautista and 50 Cent show up for a few minutes here and there with the latter not uttering one word of dialogue. The former has zero arc but shows up for what is one over the top action sequence that is fairly entertaining. Both have nothing to do in the overall proceedings and respectively cheat their audiences out of any form of entertainment. Jamie King here as Abigail Ross, girlfriend to Breslin, is equally wasted and dire. The writing, by director John Herzfeld and Miles Chapman, is horrific – adding such little weight and layers to each and every character, leaving the audience to watch an empty canvass with zero personality or artistic impression.

To its credit, Herzfeld’s film never tries to trick itself, or its audience, in any other fashion to be anything other than what it is: a solid gritty and rough effort from Stallone. A film that knows its place and exploits itself to a terrifically outlandish fashion. It is the poor style of filmmaking that really lets the side down. The constant usage of extreme close-ups is nauseating to behold. The use of a handheld camera evokes somewhat of a sense of the intended gritty immersive adventure wanted by Herzfeld but there is a serious lack of style on offer by editor Sean Albertson and cinematography by Jacques Jouffret that simply doesn’t elevate this from the usual fodder you’ll find in the bargain bin.

Escape Plan 3: The Extractors is on limited release in UK cinemas from Friday July 5th, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.


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