"No Escape" Review: Tense, Action-packed, and Thrilling

Posted 9:34 AM August 26th, 2015 by Senh Duong
No Escape

The last thriller from Owen Wilson that I could remember is “Behind Enemy Lines,” an action thriller from 2001 that I liked. Compared to that, “No Escape” is just as tense, but more dramatic because of the family element.

“No Escape” doesn’t waste any time setting up the premise. Once Wilson’s character Jack Dwyer and his family -- wife and two girls -- lands in Thailand, the film gets rolling.

Thailand’s going through one of its frequent coups (which seems to happen every four years or so), and this time, it’s caused by an American water company, for which our hero works. Dwyer has been relocated to fix the region’s water system. Unbeknownst to him, the Thai rebels didn’t like the Americans taking over their country’s water supply, so they went after every American they can find but specifically targeting Dwyer because he works for said company, and there’s a banner with his face and the company’s name on it in the hotel where he and his family are staying.

During the many scuffles between the Dwyer family and the rebels, I was only able to spot one instance of an elbow and knee to someone’s torso or face, so those thinking there’ll be some Tony Jaa action will be disappointed (no, he’s not in the film). I wasn’t but was more surprised that the filmmakers threw one in.

Pierce Brosnan’s role in the film is just to pop in once in a while to provide a few chuckles, and that seems to be it. The filmmakers make up a more substantial reason to tie him to the story, but it’s really unnecessary and doesn’t make much sense.

This is the kind of film where the bad guys are really, really bad. It’s not enough for them to just chop people up with machetes or gun them down with machine guns; they have to also inflict maximum mental and emotional pain and suffering by making their victims’ loved ones watch them do it.

If you have kids, the rooftop scene is pretty hard to watch. I keep on wondering if it’s possible to throw a child, weighing fifty to seventy pounds, that far.

I like that the wife, played by Lake Bell, is an active participant throughout the family’s ordeal. She carries her own and does whatever it takes to save her family. She could easily be the hero and her husband the damsel in distress.

Wilson doesn’t make many thrillers, but when he does make one, it’s solid entertainment. The pacing is tight, and the story has few distractions. As of this writing, 40% of the critics surveyed on Rotten Tomatoes recommend it, and I agree with them, even if we’re outnumbered.

UPDATE 8/27: "No Escape" opens to an OK $1.2M on Wednesday.

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