Thanks to No Escape; I can add another country to my No Way in Hell list. A father, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), takes his wife, Annie (Lake Bell, a personal fave), and two daughters to Malaysia for a new job. Unfortunately, an anti-American revolution is fomenting, and the Dwyers are caught in the middle. It is like the Dwyers stepped into an entry in the popular “Far Cry” videogame franchise. Thank goodness a retired Bond is around to play their guardian angel/deus ex machina. Pierce Brosnan’s Hammond, along with his pal Kenny Rogers (Sahajak Boonthanakit), has the right skills to help the endangered family escape.
The Dowdle Brothers, writer-director John Erick and writer Drew, know from suspense; though not technically a horror movie, No Escape is the most intense, frightening movie I’ve seen this year. No Escape’s success outside of these here United States is doubtful. Charges of xenophobia, racism, et al. are probably not invalid. The Malay rebels are faceless murderers; they are like the zombie islanders in videogames “Dead Island” and its superior relative, “Dying Light,” though their not very PC representation is more “Resident Evil 5.” The Dowdles ensure little time can be spent asking questions during the movie. Instead, the heart races, the stomach twists, and the adrenaline pumps. It’s in the aftermath that one realizes No Escape has some questionable, mixed messages. Sure, Hammond mentions how it’s “our” fault, and these guys are just trying to save their families, but that’s about it for humanization. The ride is an intense one; just don’t expect to feel good about enjoying it. Also, Vietnam gets to be a rare good guy, so yay!
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