No Escape is an all around entertaining film perfect for a Saturday movie night. No, it doesn’t make you think or have any profound performances but the acting isn’t bad with Owen Wilson serving as a fine everyman type of character and Pierce Brosnan in his small part is a lot of fun. This is probably worthy of a rental.
Genre(s): Action, Suspense/Thriller
Anchor Bay | R – 103 min. – $39.99 | November 24, 2015
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
Surprisingly, No Escape a bad little thriller that takes hold and doesn’t let go. That said, is it great? Not really, but it does have its moments and at least is more than watchable and above all else, entertaining.
The film opens in an unnamed Asian country when its leader is murdered, overthrown by an unnamed military tyrant. We then get the old 17 hours earlier trope where the Dwyer family — father Jack (OWEN WILSON), mother Annie (LAKE BELL) and their two daughters Lucy (STERLING JERINS) and Beeze (CLAIRE GEARE) — have traveled for Jack’s new job working for a water/power company after his own business goes belly-up.
Upon their arrival they become acquainted with Hammond (PIERCE BROSNAN) a person of questionable repute who is there on some kind of business not to mention being in the company of a variety of women, and when their car fails to arrive, he offers them a ride with an old buddy nicknamed Kenny Rogers, seeing as they are staying at the same hotel.
The Dwyer’s hotel suite, while looking nice, has its problems: no phone service, lights don’t work and other oddities. The following morning, the hotel didn’t even get newspapers in so Jack goes out to get an English paper and that’s when all hell breaks loose. After getting his paper, which was 3-days old, he steps out into the streets with one side a bombardment of police in riot gear, the other hundreds of angry protestors.
Now Jack must make his way through the chaos, which involves the beat-downs and killings, back to the hotel. When he gets back, a crowd of rebels who execute a Westerner and a few now aim for Jack who manages to climb an emergency ladder and break into the hotel. In the lobby, the staff is unable to keep them out as they make their way inside as Jack darts for his room, on the way running into Hammond who tells him to go to the roof, while the rebels and their leader go door to door, executing the occupants.
After rescuing his youngest daughter, who had gone off on her own to the hotel pool, they manage to get to the roof along with other hotel staff members and Westerners. What they hoped was a rescue chopper is instead a rebel fighter who guns the people down. Now the family is trapped with rebels attempting to gain access to the roof and, as seen in every trailer, the Dwyers must jump from one roof to another escaping certain peril of onslaught gunfire not to mention the pitfall between the buildings.
The remainder of the film finds the Dwyer family escaping one dire situation after another trying to get to the American Embassy and receive help along the way from the mysterious Hammond who does reveal who he is and what exactly is going on.
No Escape actually wasn’t a bad thriller, it was an almost callback to the thrillers of the 1990s and thankfully it’s a simplistic plot with little filler and when the action begins, it doesn’t divert from the course of a family attempting to leave the country, away from certain death.
With that in mind, the cast all provide fine performances none better than Lake Bell who acts her heart out in several scenes and Pierce Brosnan in his small role being not only a badass but reminding me why I enjoyed his run as James Bond. For his part, Owen Wilson wasn’t half bad and it’s easy to see why he was cast against type playing up the everyman aspect rather than some action hero. The two kids in the movie, Sterling Jerins (World War Z) and Claire Geare (Inception), aren’t bad though they did get on my nerves (albeit they at least acted like real kids caught in a traumatic situation).
The film was helmed by John Erick Dowdle a name probably unfamiliar to most (myself included), but he previously directed such films as Quarantine (remake), Devil (story by M. Night) and the found footage horror flick, As Above So Below, so not a great resume so it’s not say a whole lot, but No Escape was pretty well directed with quick pacing and a focuses story with no fluff.
In the end, that’s what I liked about No Escape: it’s just an entertaining film that might be worthy of a Saturday movie night as it doesn’t make you think too hard and instead enjoy the suspense-filled scenes and characters who generally are likeable, and for me, Pierce Brosnan really made it for me.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
This release comes with a title-embossed slip cover. Inside is a standard DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.
Audio Commentary – The track includes Co-Writer/Director John Erick Dowdle and Co-Writer/Producer Drew Dowdle. As siblings, the pair is able to bounce stories off of one another, providing tid-bits on certain scenes, shooting in Thailand and other info on the cast and production.
Deleted Scenes (5:08; HD) – We get a whopping two scenes with optional commentary with Writer/Director Dowdle. They aren’t great but there is more footage between Wilson and Brosnan.
Behind the Scenes (13:40; HD) – There are on-location interviews, intercut with BTS footage, with Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, Lake Bell and The Dowdle Brothers.
VIDEO – 3.5/5
No Escape makes a break for it on Blu-ray courtesy of Anchor Bay presented with a 1080p high-definition transfer and shown in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio. This is a mixture of good and bad unfortunately, while colors are nice and bright and detail is fine, I did notice a fair amount of artifacting especially prevalent during the opening sequence. Not sure why perhaps due to a bad or lazy transfer but it is unexpected to see for a new release.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The movie comes with a decent and adequate DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which sounds good providing for clear dialogue levels throughout and there’s a fair amount of ambient noises especially during the quieter scenes as the family travels in the shadows during the night. It’s not great, anything dynamic or reference quality material but it is more than sufficient for what the movie is.
OVERALL – 3.5/5
Overall, No Escape is an all around entertaining film perfect for a Saturday movie night. No, it doesn’t make you think or have any profound performances but the acting isn’t bad with Owen Wilson serving as a fine everyman type of character and Pierce Brosnan in his small part is a lot of fun. This is probably worthy of a rental or, if under $10, purchase. The Blu-ray released by Lionsgate offers so-so video, good audio and an OK selection of bonus material.
Brian Oliver a.k.a. The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.