Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity, graphic violence, and rape
Running time: 101 minutes
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
After the company he works for files for bankruptcy, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) accepts a position overseas with Cardiff, a transnational, water bottling corporation. But the native Texan really regrets that his new job will involve uprooting his wife Annie (Lake Bell), and their young daughters, Beeze (Claire Geare) and Lucy (Sterling Jerins). During the long flight to Southeast Asia, we find the girls fretting about whether they’ll like their new home and if their dad’s new company will go belly up, too.
Luckily, little Beeze also strikes up a conversation with a fellow passenger (Pierce Brosnan) about his curious face and body scars. Turns out the mysterious stranger, Mr. Hammond, happens to be quite familiar with the family’s destination point.
Upon landing at the airport, he helps them avoid the shady, solicitous street hustlers lurking around the terminal. Instead, he directs them to an honest cabbie (Sahajak Boonthanakit) who’ll escort them to what they reasonably expect to be comfy accommodations.
But au contraire! Culture shock sets in when the Dwyers’ check into the Imperial Lotus hotel where nothing in the suite seems to work: their cellphone, the land line, the television, not even the lights. Still, those inconveniences pale in comparison to the threat to their very existence posed by the coup d’etat which suddenly claims the life of the country’s prime minister (Vuthichard Photphurin).
In the wake of the assassination, bloodthirsty gangs of rebels start roaming around the country, specifically looking for Westerners to lynch on the spot. And it isn’t long before the horde of marauders are going door-to-door right inside the hotel.
What to do? As a stranger in a strange land with no links to the outside world, Jack realizes that he has to rely on his wits to save his family.
He settles on sanctuary at the American embassy as the goal, which might be easier said than done sans GPS on streets crawling with Yankee-hating insurgents. Nonetheless, with the walls closing in, he leads Annie and the girls to the roof of the building to begin the perilous journey.
Directed by John Erik Dowdle (“As Above, So Below”), No Escape is a tightly-wound, high-octane, action thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat for the duration, courtesy of the Dwyers’ close brushes with death at every turn. Credit a quintet of convincing performances here, including Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Claire Geare, and Sterling Jerins as the terrified family, along with Pierce Brosnan as an “economic hit man” filled with overwhelming regret.
A harrowing heart-pounder that delivers even more excitement per-minute than is suggested by its very compelling trailer!