No Escape (6/10)

No Escape

No rescue. No refuge.


In their new overseas home, an American family soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and they frantically look for a safe escape in an environment where foreigners are being immediately executed.

Title No Escape
Director of Photography Léo Hinstin
Runtime 1 h 43 min
Certification R
Release Date 26 August 2015
Tagline No rescue. No refuge.
IMDb Id tt1781922

Well, this is an interesting experience. There are a lot of things right with No Escape. And at least as many things are wrong with it. I can easily see how you can swing either way on loving or hating this movie.

Take it as popcorn entertainment and it is a pretty enjoyable ride. Texan engineer Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) moves with his wife (Lake Bell) and two young daughters to an unnamed Asian country (ahum… Thailand) to start an expat job at a water plant to help improve water quality in the region. They are clearly inexperienced travellers but luckily they meet a jovial businessman (Pierce Brosnan) on the plane who helps them on their way. When Jack strolls around town the next day looking for a newspaper, he all of a sudden finds himself in the middle of a rebellion. He manages to find his way back to the hotel which turns out to also be under attack by the same rebels. He transforms from clueless expat to man-on-a-mission to keep his family safe in a world spiralling rapidly out of control…

The action is pretty good, certainly the first half of the movie. In a 100-minute movie it is hard to not find your brain wondering a bit about what is going on even if the action initially is fairly relentless. But when the action pauses the movie falters. Instead of adding depth to the characters and their situation, the additional storyline these pauses introduce only weaken the action and highlight how ridiculously ‘simplistic’ the world-view this movie takes actually is. I put simplistic between quotation marks, as it could easily be replaced by variations ranging from ‘outdated’ to ‘racist’.

The uprising of the ”locals’ is not given any real background and depth – it is used as a mere excuse for the Escape storyline. All ‘locals’ remain one-dimensional, most of them indiscriminate zombie-like murderers, out to kill not only the Dwyers, but any westerner, and also have no issues slaughtering any local that may come in their way. When, very late in the movie, Brosnan is given the role to ‘explain’ why the locals are rebelling this way, this feels very hollow and only diminishes the credibility of Brosnan’s persona, who in the first half of the movie has an actually fairly interesting role, which in the latter half deteriorates to a weak international spy/action hero role.

Forget about all of that, and at a popcorn level this is a pretty enjoyable action flick, with good performances from Owen Wilson and Lake Bell. 6/10 for that. If you start to think about it any more, it would be hard to rate this movie more than a 3.

No Escape (6/10)
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