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Published February 24th 2016
How far would YOU go to save your family?
No Escape is the latest get-the-heck-outta-there escape thriller from director brothers John Erick and Drew Dowdle. Grab some popcorn and hold on tight. There's enough edge-of-your-seat action to flip that sweet and salty snack everywhere.
So, how far do you think you would go to protect your family? No Escape's unlikely 'hero' Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) is about to find out in this nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat thriller coming to DVD in March 2016.
Dwyer is your Average Joe American dreaming of an idyllic new life in an unnamed Southeast Asian nation. He's there on business, representing a seemingly benevolent American corporation, and has brought along his reluctant wife (Lake Bell) and two young daughters (Sterling Jerins and Claire Geare) for the ride.
Unfortunately for Dwyer, the dream crumbles before it even has a chance to begin, as Dwyer finds himself and his vulnerable family smack bang in the middle of a chaotic and violent uprising.
Their comfortable, safe hotel becomes a murder ground from which they must run, hide and leap for their lives. With nowhere to go, and nowhere to hide, they turn to an unlikely ally amid the chaos, who offers Dwyer a slim chance to whisk his family to safety.
No Escape is a gripping, fast-paced and action-packed flick that's very good at drawing the audience deeper into the turmoil. Yet in an increasingly desensitised society, it's refreshing to follow along as 'everyday' characters face such impossible situations. Will you be left feeling breathless and lightheaded? Absolutely.
Action elements aside, the plot itself errs on the side of xenophobia as squeaky-clean white American tourists outrun hordes of unknowable Asian rebels. The backstory is simplistic and not greatly explained as viewers are dropped along with the characters into a confusing and increasingly violent situation.
Perhaps the movie would have been enriched with a more complex plot and wider perspective (encompassing the effects on locals and tourists alike)... But really? You don't watch action flicks for perfect real life plausibility, do you?
Wilson's performance as a father-turned-rescuer (and not a slick, endlessly capable action hero) is incredible, as is watching Dwyer spring into action to save his family. Despite this being an action movie that classic Wilson humour doesn't get left by the wayside. In fact, there are a few lighter moments that definitely help relieve some pent-up tension between action sequences.
Alongside Wilson, mother-and-daughters team Bell, Jerins and Geare provide an alternative point of view to the chaos, as they react to the situation exploding around them. This is also refreshing - it's not often that these kinds of thrillers portray the effects (psychological or otherwise) on young children. Not to mention that at times, Bell's take on 'capable wife in distress' will have you literally gripping your seats in distress.
Filmed on location in Thailand, it's interesting to note that while non-white actors speak in Thai, local signage is presented in Khmer script, oddly presented upside down to obscure it. It's a strange choice, but doesn't distract from the pace of the story.
Prior visitors to Southeast Asia will surely recognise the scenery used to convey the sense of place in the film, and new visitors may experience a small thrill when walking through the streets, although hopefully it won't dissuade people from visiting this incredible part of the world.
After all, this is a fictional action thriller, and in that vein it does not disappoint.