No Escape (2015) Movie Review: Well-Acted But Wrongheaded Thriller Plans its Absurd Escape

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for Westerners getting got

Take a Drink: whenever Pierce Brosnan says something salty

Take a Drink: for conflicting clues as to what country this is supposed to be

Do a Shot: for child-toss

Do a Shot: “Welcome to Asia”

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Jake Turner (Five Beers) –

During the opening credits of No Escape, I saw perfection in the setting of two drink glasses for an Asian emperor and his guest. Before they are served, the main bodyguard takes a straw out of his coat and tests to make sure it had the elite taste fit for an emperor. After that, bloodshed splatters across a curtain and we get an 80’s inspired thriller feel through the bold red text. Then, it turns into a lost Die Hard script that Bruce Willis must have said no to, rightfully (if it is true).

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Bruce, I don’t understand why.

A Toast

Don’t get me wrong, the acting was first rate by Owen Wilson and I admired what his character was all about. Wilson plays Jack Wyler, working upper management overseas for his water company. Even at the hotel, there is a big picture of him on a Welcome sign when his girls point it out. Wyler is charismatic, humorous, and modest, and shows a strong love for his family in many ways.  Plus, I always love independent female characters. Wyler’s wife, Annie (played by the always entertaining Lake Bell) brings a protective and brave portrayal of what a mom is capable of, when her family is involved. The likability of the characters was what kept me watching, especially Beeze and Lucy Dwyer (played by Claire Geare and Sterling Jerins). They show that not all child actors have to be annoying or overly complex as some films try to do nowadays. It was refreshing to see them act like real-life… kids.

Hats off to Pierce Brosnan for bringing a certain mystery to his character, Hammond. It had an 80’s espionage feel to me, and when he is on the screen, he has you laughing at times and clapping as he delivers one-liners with a cigar in his mouth. Maybe he should have been in the A-Team film adaptation (no offense, Liam).

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So, this is what I get for doing Die Another Day? This is retirement for James Bond?

Beer Two

The first 20 min of this film had me laughing and on the edge of my seat. How time flew, and then the film began its road to a morally disturbing dead end. The first chase sequence was chilling with Jack running back to the hotel to get his family, but the next five were outlandish and shocking. What in the hell was the Dowdle brothers thinking, writing in a scene with Owen Wilson throwing his two KIDS from one rooftop to the other? Did Wilson practice shot put in pre-production?! How about making the rebels into emotionless killers, but also basking in the sick and twisted enjoyment? This rooftop scene was so ridiculous, because our heroes had an lifetime to plan their escape… when the rebels were ALREADY there. It was like Dowdle wanted to show these rebels as horror movie slashers. I mean, they wanted everyone to feel their pain and the reasoning was alone, absurd.

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Let the pros show you how to escape off a rooftop! Go McClane!

Beer Three

One hundred percent, I can’t stand it when filmmakers treat their audience like idiots. Nowadays, some filmmakers really have no idea how to do slow motion effectively. I can think of John Woo, who knew how to use it like an ballet of bullets and explosions. Dowdle thinks having Wilson’s facial reactions in slow motion or when the rebels have their own HELICOPTER.  Instead of “surprising” the audience with the “shock” of the characters’ actions, it actually just became predictable and cartoonish in its execution.

Beer Four

This film might have had the best misleading trailer of the year. When you think of director John Erick Dowdle, you think of low grade and cheap horror films like Quarantine and So Above, So Below. I was thinking when watching the trailer, “How is he going to turn this into a no holds barred action film?” He definitely missed the mark there when he shot this like a horror film and created so much tension that it became hackneyed and cliché.

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In No Escape, it was because of a corrupt… water company. Where was Jason? Freddy? Jeez.

Beer Five

I can’t stand exploitation of women and children being used as entertainment. Dowdle makes sure that he gives us the main idea of committing violence on a woman when she is punched and bloodied, plus he even shows an attempted sexual assault as well. I may sound uptight, but you know what? I pay to see a movie to escape real life for a few hours. If it was based on a true story, I would have understood, but this was all fiction taking a page out of the 80’s everyman hero stories. Then it gives me a jaw-dropping ending where I said out loud, “this is entertainment?”  It was like a horror movie cliché gone horribly wrong. I’m not going to spoil it because just thinking about makes me quiver.

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Hey, I found my escape.

Verdict

No Escape’s only redeeming facets were the likable family characters and Owen Wilson’s great performance, but its heavy handed plot, countless genre mixing, and a sickening ending that questions some filmmakers’ intentions to entertain ruin it. Thank goodness, there was an escape.  It was only 10 steps to the exit, and the first thing I needed after was a shower.

5Beers1

About Jake Turner

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