WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Claire Geare, Sterling Jerins and Sahajak Boonthanakit
WRITER(S): John Erick Dowdle & Drew Dowdle
Then he finds himself embroiled in a full scale political uprising, prompting to run immediately back to his hotel, grab his wife and children and run for their lives.
Will they make it? Only time will tell – but when you’re in a country where you don’t speak the language, you have no weapons or martial arts training and no idea what’s really going on, there may be no escape indeed …
Wilson plays his character exactly as he should for maximum effect. Instead of coming off like a secret badass in disguise, his Jack Dwyer is a true everyman who is immediately overwhelmed once he is thrown into a situation he does not anticipate and responds as such: Transitioning from scared to death to still scared to death while trying to save his family and while trying to think clearly as possible. Wilson responds as one naturally would/should in situations of conflict given his character’s lack of preparation, yet maintains enough of a sense of “I must get through this” that not only makes you buy into his character, but root for him as well. Wilson avoids all action movie super hero tropes; there are no corny one-liners, no over-the-top fight sequences and even when the certain clichés rear their ugly head, they feel more organic in nature than forced for the sake of the story.
Co-writer and director John Erick Dowdle does an excellent job at crafting a grim world for his characters in which his characters must fight to survive. Despite that underlying feeling you know what will happen in the story and who will (and won’t) survive, the tension he creates for his characters transfers over to the audience. The action and violence comes from all angles fast and furiously with no regard for anything and anyone in its path, all of which enhances the feeling of just how much peril is truly upon them while treating its characters (and the audience) with respect necessary to keep it again from falling into cornball territory.
Wilson (and Bell’s complimentary) performance aside, there are some issues that may significantly affect your enjoyment of No Escape, the first being the notion that you likely can surmise what will ultimately happen. Look, you go into a movie like this, you pretty much know the routine of how it’s gonna go. Second, if you think the film has a bit of a xenophobic feel to it, whereas I would argue you’re a bit off base, it will definitely affect your view on who you should be rooting for and overall enjoyment of the film. Lastly, as harsh as it sounds to say, Claire Geare’s and Sterling Jerins’ characters are the thing that likely never change in disaster movies but is still nevertheless awful: Children who are annoying, almost get either their selves or every adult trying to help them killed as they refuse to grow up in the moment. You may feel guilty at first for rooting for bad things to happen to children, but once you watch them nearly get someone killed for the fifth time in 20 minutes, you’ll get over it.
Getting over the idea a movie starring Owen Wilson that was thrice delayed from hitting theaters can’t be good is another one you’d be good to get over as well. Because No Escape as a film is for an audience as it is as an event for its characters: Unexpected, thrilling and an adrenaline pumping adventure you’ll feel better for having survived.