It’s called No Escape and (spoiler alert)…they escaped! But come on, you knew they would. This is predictable, B-movie garbage. We’re supposed to be entertained because Owen Wilson plays it straight (and is surprisingly good in the role); and we get to see James Bond singing Huey Lewis in a hotel bar. Oh, and if you don’t laugh at that, there’s an Asian cab driver so obsessed with Kenny Rogers, he calls his vehicle the “Kenny Rogers Cab” and you have to be a fan of Rogers to get in (I would’ve opted for the Chubby Checker Cab, or the Taxi Cab Calloway).
The story starts with an American family going to a Southeast Asian region (that’s never named), at the absolute worst time. It’s such a mess, that the hotel lobby doesn’t even have those complimentary copies of the USA Today. Wilson has to walk down the street to pick one up. On that walk, a violent coup crops up. That’s when the picture takes a weird xenophobic vibe that it’s hard to ever recover from. This is just a bunch of hatchet swinging murderers, and we really learn nothing about them (I don’t recall one caption, letting us know what they’re really all about). We get some white-guilt garbage that…I suppose was an attempt to justify the gratuitously violent actions.
Since the most popular scene in the commercial shows Wilson throwing his two daughters to his wife (Lake Bell) on another building…critic Scott Marks pointed out how long it took the bad guys to walk across the rooftop. It was a good point, but there were so many other plot holes, you just have to sit back and not think about them. And I’m not sure why the director filmed the two throws in slow motion. It created laughter in the theatre. Well, from me it did. Maybe others were on the edge of their seats.
I could never get over the fact that if Jack (Owen Wilson) had to take a job there, why he had to uproot his family to do it. His wife is obviously upset about this, which had me wondering, if she was going to hate him more because of all the terror they endured. Even if Jack saves the family at the end, do you ever forgive him for putting everyone in that position?
Remember in that last episode of M*A*S*H* when Alan Alda made a woman kill her baby so it would stop crying and give away their location? Well, I wanted Lake Bell to go all Alda on her kids (Sterling Jerins, Claire Geare) when they kept putting the family in jeopardy. It was insane.
It would’ve been more interested if they added some drama about the local economy and job situation, and how international commerce might ruin things for this region. Instead, we get a bunch of one-dimensional characters. Even with Pierce Brosnan (playing Pierce Brosnan) adding a little fun, it’s just not enough to make this worth seeing.
In one scene where Brosnan is shooting at people in a truck…the climax to it almost feels like it’s a horror film, with zombies or vampires chasing the Americans. Director John Erick Dowdle did the horror movies As Above, So Below and the Quarantine films, so maybe that’s why.
This felt like a horror movie, complete with the weak storyline.
To take the bad taste of this out of my mouth, I’m going to watch the movie Lake Bell wrote and starred in called In a World…
I recommend you do the same.
This gets 1 star out of 5.