The natives are vicious. Violence is everywhere. Blood flows from the screen in No Escape,
John Erick Dowdle’s 2015 action thriller.
I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me protect you to your seat.
"No Escape" opens with a murder and political unrest in a nondescript Asian setting. I realize
Dowdle was trying to be politically correct by not depicting any country in particular, but
would it have killed him to be a little more specific?
The beginning sequence ends so abruptly that it is nearly forgotten when a slow pace
ensues and new characters are introduced.
Jack Dwyer is a stereotypical American family man, played by Owen Wilson, who moves his
wife and daughters overseas convinced that his corporate business will provide a new life
for them all. Along the way they meet Hammond, a benevolent British gentleman played by
Pierce Brosnan who often steals Owen Wilsons’ show.
Brosnan’s performance carries a plot that slows to a crawl. Electrical devices crash at the
hotel where the Dwyer’s are staying. Wind chimes clang together while Jack purchases a
newspaper from a street vendor.
John Erick Dowdle may have been alluding to the calm before the storm cliché in his
foreshadowing, but the technique is far too subtle in "No Escape."
Asians are then portrayed as assassins and bloodthirsty savages when a riot occurs,
transcending into civil war without so much as a whisper of exposition.
Crucial plot elements trickle in only after intense action sequences temporarily subside.
Jack later discovers that his corporate business tainted Asia’s water supply. Wouldn’t it
have been helpful to learn a little bit more information about Jack’s company before the
movie spiraled into pandemonium?
“Blood for water,” the Asians chant.
The film progresses into a drawn out but nonetheless exciting cat and mouse game when the
Dwyer’s and Hammond attempt to flee their assailants. Numerous scenarios arise to test
their limits. With both parents discovering they are able to kill to protect their own, the
movie relies heavily on shock value to carry it through to conclusion.
Don’t expect to find moral lessons or any universal truths to be unveiled. While "No Escape"
is rich in intensity and suspense, it suffers from a lack of focus. Far too much time is spent
on character and setting development. An underwhelming premise hardly justifies outbreaks
of spontaneous violence.
I’m the Ranting Usher. Let me talk you back onto American soil.
Do you agree with my review? What are you prepared to do in a survival situation? Let me
know in the comments section.