No Escape

August 26, 2015198 min

The idea of uprooting one’s family in pursuit of opportunities abroad, may conjure up emotional ambivalence. On one hand, next-level career advancement and a chance to start fresh, in a new city, filled with possibilities…on the other hand, responsibility – a hefty counterbalance.

Future promise, versus making a huge mistake – kinda stressful. Now, factor in a foreign country as the assigned destination and any lingering thoughts of wonderment & adventure are quietly ushered out of the room. Let the internal mind-chatter begin. Now the difficult part; discussing the entire matter with a wife & two young daughters.

In a new film entitled ‘No Escape’, this is exactly what Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) signs up for after being extended a job offer, helping to provide water to the citizens of an unnamed country (somewhere in the South Pacific?). Amidst a mix of support and protest by his family, Jack ultimately accepts the offer and thus prepares the family to relocate to a foreign land.

While on the trans-oceanic flight, Jack and his wife Annie (Lake Bell), accompanied by their two daughters, Breeze (Claire Geare) and Lucy (Sterling Jerins) meet Hammond (played by Pierce Bronsnan), whose help in getting the family to their hotel after their plane lands, foreshadows his ability to be helpful, and in the right place, at the right time.

Believing that the situation is looking up, the family frolics about the hotel, enjoying the amenities, as Jack awaits the details related to his new role. During their first night, things take a turn for the worst, and the country in which they’ve just moved to begins to erupts in conflict, and a coup begins taking shape.

The next day – Jack goes out on a morning stroll, in search of an American newspaper. While he’s out, he begins to notice an eerily calm silence in the streets, with minimal activity in the shopping district. And as nearby storefronts quietly roll down their security gates, Jack soon begins to realize that he’s caught in the middle of what appears to be a riot unfolding before his eyes.

This is where the ‘action’ in action-thriller begins. Soon, Dwyer is free running like a Parkour traceur, and he somehow manages to make it back to the hotel to retrieve his family. Things are not safe and it doesn’t take long for the running to begin again, this time with family in tow. Together they must find a way to escape to safety, while avoiding an entire city of angry up-risers, who seem to be pursuing them for their companies political part in creating the turmoil.

It would have been easy to typecast a familiar ‘Hollywood hero’ to play Jack’s character, but wouldn’t that minimize the intended effect?

Put John Rambo in this city and he’ll start tossing live hand grenades in every direction while gunning down citizens, rebels, cops…you name it! Now put someone like Owen Wilson, a guy whose characters are usually made to makes us laugh, and he seems like the reluctant hero and more relatable. An everyday American businessman trying to save his family. Wilson was here once before as he ran for his life in “Behind Enemy Lines”, which also had a whole country out to kill him. No Escape was written by Drew Dowdle and John Erick Dowdle (As Above,So Below), the latter also serving as Director.

“No Escape” may not necessarily produce any small golden statuettes or even produce a whispered buzz about it’s potential to do so, but it certainly generates an adrenaline-charged storyline which will hold your interest, keep you entertained and qualify the bang for your proverbial buck. The filmmaker keeps the tension level high as you wonder how, and if the onscreen family can ever survive the peril of this thriller.

With Wilson leading the way, and with a little help from Hammond, aka James Bond, aka PB, proving on more than one occasion that he still has his own particular set of skills that also involve shooting a gun, “No Escape” is entertainment – Hollywood style. Who needs a ringing endorsement for a film with so many of the elements necessary for success in place; great actors, the right runtime, great direction and editing along with a well written, though seemingly implausible storyline. This film has one goal in mind, and it is set on that one thing, to simply entertain. And there is ‘no escaping’ the fact that that’s exactly what it does.

Brian Taylor

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