No Escape review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
Extremely naive and over-simplified, without proper established sense of directions, time and space against which the characters ought to accordingly act, No Escape is a predictable, monotonous, straight-forward mess of getting from one point to another without knowing as to where said point actually is. It’s devoid of any suspense or thrills, introducing bastardized geopolitics that won’t hold up even if presented in a high-school classroom, junior year.
Owen Wilson and the gorgeous Lake Bell move with their two girls to a distant country, referred to by an unlikely expository figure played by Pierce Brosnan, as simply ‘Asia’. The audience is not given full disclosure as to where this ‘Asian’ country is, although it heavy reminisces Cambodia and/or Thailand. Right off the bat there’s confusion in regard to the narrative chronotope, which could’ve been easily solved by simple random fictional naming of said territory. The viewer feels as lost as the characters in the film.
The two main leads give decent performances, and quite surprisingly, Owen Wilson proves his talent for drama and fast-paced action. The girls are cute, the Asian extras (beg my pardon for exploiting the film’s taxonomy) are convincing, and Brosnan feels like a pale shadow of the former glorious 007 days – probably only there to collect his paycheck and vanish into the sunset without leaving a trace. The action starts decently enough to intrigue one’s attention, is interesting up until a certain high-point, but then goes to a downward spiral never to come back again. No escape is a B-movie minus the thrills, devoid of any internal or physical logic, for that matter. Sure, it’s entertaining at times, probably more suited for the 90’s era of action flicks where a single dude mops the floor with a constant influx of poorly trained henchmen. That doesn’t stop it from being predictable and dumb to a point of becoming stupid.
Let’s talk more story. It feels like Owen’s character, together with his family, is never in any real danger: they manage to break free from even the trickiest of affairs – jumping across impossible gaps, randomly stumbling across the places they ought to be, avoiding bullets like it’s no one’s business. Apart from few scratches and bruises, they pedal through a full-blown military coup, with every native Asian (sorry again) wanting them dead, as if they were wearing an invisible cloak of immortality. Oh, wait a minute: such cloak exists in reality, and it’s called ‘shield of plot’. Brosnan’s role is larger than a mere paycheck however, for he is literally a deus-ex-machina that constantly hovers over Wilson’s family and shows his face only when said family falls in grave danger.
The background motivation is as silly as it gets: a) Western corporations want valuable resource from third (in the movie referred as forth) world country; b) Foreigners agree without exposing Westerners’ ill intentions; c) Westerners exploit said country, impose impossible debt and keep TWC subdued; d) TWC goes mad and starts killing everybody in sight. Somewhere along the ending there’s a blatant attempt to slap irony onto an already failed spell, which ends up as yet another plot hole to be explained in the near future.
To conclude, No Escape would’ve been a decent action film, if not for the foolish narrative, the total lackluster of a proper chronotope, and finally -- the unwarranted appearance of deus-ex-machina Pierce Brosnan.