A review of “No Escape,” an Owen Wilson action movie that treats violence and fear too casually. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4.
If you’ve really been wanting to see endless shots of Owen Wilson running, sometimes while carrying a medium-sized child, the thriller “No Escape” might be just for you. Those looking for nuanced screenplays, believable characters, and movies that don’t feature the offhand dismissal of hundreds of people being brutally killed, might want to go elsewhere.
Yes, this film, directed by John Erick Dowdle, is supposed to be a piece of thrilling escapism, and it certainly manages to ratchet up the tension. Wilson, a talented actor who’s nobody’s idea of an action hero, here plays Jack Dwyer, an American businessman who moves to an unnamed Southeast Asian country for work, bringing his wife Annie (Lake Bell) and two young daughters. Unfortunately, a violent, terrifying rebellion breaks out shortly after his arrival. The Dwyers therefore must flee for their lives and do some action-movie-friendly things, such as tossing their daughters from one rooftop to the other in slow motion, as one does.
It all sounds pretty silly, and it is (particularly the way Pierce Brosnan keeps popping up to save the day momentarily, as if he were a grizzled Irish superhero who just spotted the Batsignal). But “No Escape” manages to be both dull, particularly in its early scenes, and repellent. The movie’s casual treatment of countless dead locals, the way the children’s fear is exploited, a brief scene of attempted rape — well, getting to see Wilson sprinting in khakis doesn’t seem like a fair trade-off. Just like the Dwyer family, I found myself looking for escape; you might, too.
Movie Review ★½
‘No Escape,’ with Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, Lake Bell. Directed by John Erick Dowdle, from a screenplay by John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle. 103 minutes. Rated R for strong violence throughout, and for language. Several theaters.