Janet W., Here…
No Escape opens in black with opening credits and the sound of insects chirping. Suddenly we focus on two glasses of clear beverage. The camera follows the waiter carrying the glasses through the hotel/mansion until they arrive at the security/food taster. Upon receiving his approval the waiter continues to the Prime Minister of Thailand and his visitor. You wonder if something is in the glasses and if the Prime Minister will meet his end. They both drink and finish their meeting. As the visitor is escorted out by security, suddenly alarms sound. The security officer takes off for the Prime Minister. He is found bloody and dead. Rebels walk up to the security officer and he draws his blade. To defend himself? No, he slices his own throat. Oh, right, this is a Weinstein film. Cut to titles that transition into clouds and an airplane window.
Seventeen hours earlier, the Dwyer family is on a flight to Thailand and a new life as Jack (Owen Wilson) starts a new job. With his wife, Annie (Lake Bell) and two little girls, Lucy (Sterling Jerins) and Beeze (Claire Geare), a few moments of light humor happen. Beeze loses her stuffed animal Bob under the seat and who finds it, a scarred stranger, Hammond (Pierce Brosnan). A lack of conversation filter cuts off Hammond’s conversation with little Beeze. Eleven more hours to go until they arrive in Thailand. Cardiff, the clean water company Jack has migrated to work for, neglects to send a car for them at the airport. It’s Hammond to the rescue. The hotel doesn’t have a working television, phone, and no newspaper, but they remembered to display a banner welcoming new Cardiff employees. Early in the morning, the city erupts into a killing spree. Can the Dwyer family make it to safety?
Not a lot of effort was put into background for Jack or his family. We only know that he had a company that failed. The audience is just slammed into this terrifying situation. Can you imagine being in a strange country were your language is sparsely spoken and suddenly everyone wants to kill you? What would you do to survive? Or maybe the better question is what wouldn’t you do?
No Escape does a decent job of maintaining suspense throughout the film once the action starts. I have never seen such young kids put through a Black Hawk Down situation, Thai-style, before in film. Jerins was exposed to this kind of danger somewhat in World War Z, but not for such an extended period and with this level of severity. I admit though that there were moments when I wanted to smack her character and tell her to hush. On the other hand though, Lucy (and Beeze for that matter) exemplifies how a child would act/react in those circumstances. Wilson shows some promise as an action star. I’m not a huge fan of him, but he should consider more films of this genre. He is much more tolerable in an action/dramatic role. I hadn’t liked his work really since Armageddon. He should stay away from films like Are You Here? though. Man, that was bad.
I am unfamiliar with Bell’s work, but she was believable. Brosnan unfortunately wasn’t for the few times he was seen. I like Brosnan. However, it seemed that he didn’t believe in his character, so why should we? A few moments were lame or cheesy or just plain didn’t make any sense to do plot-wise. Two unusual twists on the action formula occur which was a nice little change. The use of slow motion was a bit excessive to the point of being a warning system, but at times necessary. This is a fair movie at best.
WARNING: Do not bring young children to this film. (The film is rated R, so hopefully you wouldn’t anyway.) If you are sensitive to young (under the age of 10 or so) children in danger, this film is not for the faint at heart.
2.5 out of 5 Stars
Janet L. White