Director: John Erick Dowdle
Cast: Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, Lake Bell
Runtime: 1 hr 43 mins
Rating: NC16 (Violence and Some Coarse Language)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 27 August 2015
Synopsis: An intense international thriller, NO ESCAPE centres on an American businessman (Owen Wilson) as he and his family settle into their new home in a fictitious country in Southeast Asia. Suddenly finding themselves in the middle of a violent political uprising, they must frantically look for a safe escape as rebels mercilessly attack the city.
Nope, there will never be world peace. And movies like this thriller directed by John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine, Devil) are not really helping. This is not a bad thing though, considering the global mess that’s happening outside our safe and sanitised homes. There is, to a certain extent, some truth in every other seemingly B grade action movie exploring the themes of international unrest.
The story penned by the director and his brother Drew Dowdle sees an American businessman moving to an unnamed country in Southeast Asia(nice try, film producers, for attempting not to anger any of our regional neighbours) and finding themselves in the middle of a coup. From there, you see the family of four frantically trying to escape (there are lots of running, sweating and hiding) the violence and bloodshed that’s around them.
The first thing you’d be concern about is the casting of Asians as the supposed villains in the 103 minute movie. Yup, Asians are conveniently depicted as the evil “others”, wielding their guns and choppers, going around killing innocent victims. Countless people die, but as you can probably expect, not the white family viewers are supposed to root for.
One thing you may eventually realise though (if you haven’t either completely shut off or immersing yourself in the action), is how every member of the global community has a part to play to reach this messy stage where unrest lurks in every corner of our world.
There is lots of collateral damage in the movie. You see buildings collapse, explosions going off and almost everything in sight breaking apart. If you’re looking for a movie with in depth character study, you may want to look elsewhere.
Hence, as a popcorn flick, this movie doesn’t fare too bad. Funnyman Owen Wilson (yup, an odd choice as the leading man in an action movie) does a decent job – you almost emphatise with him for having to go through what looks like a very strenuous shoot. He is paired up with LakeBell, who portrays a foreigner out of her comfort zone pretty well. And then there are the two child actors to tug at your heartstrings. Completing the picture is Pierce Brosnan, who reminds you how the years haven’t been kind to the suave actor who made countless females swoon with his rendition of James Bond.
The action sequences in the movie are nicely paced – watch out for a scene where Wilsonhas to bring his family to an adjacent building by convincing his wife that she can jump across the rooftop, and brace yourself for this: flinging his children across to the other side. While you may think to yourself “yah… right”, but you have to admit there won’t be any casualties or things will end up looking pretty ugly.
We are guessing this movie won’t go down too well with critics, and probably won’t have much box office impact. But as a casual viewer, this isn’t all that bad.
(There are some nice action sequences in this movie, but they are probably not enough to save it from mediocrity)
Review by John Li