The 2013 action movie Escape Plan paired Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger as inmates attempting to bust out of the world’s most secure prison. The movie was poorly-reviewed and only a modest success domestically, but it did well in China, and now B-movie powerhouse EFO is pulling together a sequel that may or may not team Stallone with Schwarzenegger once again.

Stallone we know is definitely onboard for Escape Plan 2, but it remains to be seen if Schwarzenegger can be lured back in. The movie is moving forward with or without Schwarzenegger, and now production house EFO has found the man to take the helm as director; someone whose work will be familiar to fans of low-budget action movies starring former A-list stars.

According to The Tracking Board, action movie maven Steven C. Miller has been hired to direct Escape Plan 2, replacing the original film’s director Mikael Hafstrom. The script is by Miles Chapman, who wrote the original Escape Plan. Chinese distributor Leomus Pictures says the film will include some Chinese story elements to make it more accessible to its target audience. The original Escape Plan did $41 million in China but only $25 million in the U.S.

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Steven Miller has become a go-to director for EFO, taking the helm for several of the studio’s recent action movies. In 2015 he directed Extraction starring Bruce Willis, and in 2016 he was behind the camera for Marauders, also starring Bruce Willis. In 2017 he will release First Kill, starring…Bruce Willis. If nothing else, all his work with Bruce Willis has given Miller lots of experience in dealing with former ’80s action stars, and that will come in handy when he directs Stallone (and maybe Schwarzenegger) in Escape Plan 2.

The first Escape Plan starred Stallone as a designer of super-high-security prisons who found himself locked up inside one of his own creations after being framed. Schwarzenegger co-starred as an inmate who became Stallone’s ally but only after first fighting him. Prison escape movies have long been a staple for action stars, with the genre reaching a high-water mark with Clint Eastwood’s Escape From Alcatraz.

The promise of “Chinese story elements” in Escape Plan 2 leads one to suspect the movie might take place inside a Chinese prison, which would be an interesting way to up the ante on the action in the original movie. Then again, given the sensitivities of the Chinese authorities, maybe setting a violent action movie inside a Chinese prison wouldn’t be the greatest idea for a movie whose primary audience will be from China. We’ll keep an eye on the production for anymore developments, including news on Schwarzenegger’s return.

Source: Tracking Board