This holiday is about to get a whole lot worse.

Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.

On the run with his family in a foreign land, No Escape stars Owen Wilson in his first serious film - well it at least attempts to be - to date since the 2001 Behind Enemy Lines, helmed by the creative brothers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle who are mainly known for the Quarantine films.

No Escape begins in said foreign land, located somewhere in Asia - whilst filmed in Thailand, No Escape doesnít specifically state its location - which I have deemed to be Cambodia based upon various geographical plot references. So now we have cleared that up, its time to join the Cambodian President in a meeting with what seems to be an english businessman - albeit a very short lived one - as the President swiftly gets assassinated, sparking a coup which unravels into the events that follow.

Just 19 hours before this event, we join the Dwyer family on a plane to this exotic destination. A destination that Jack (Owen Wilson) his wife Annie (Lake Bell) and two daughters Lucy (Sterling Jerins) and Beeze (Claire Geare) are now planning to live - well until the angry machete wielding mob have their say that is. Emigrating from their native U.S. after Jackís previous place of employment went bankrupt, Jack is offered a new job as an engineer for a water company, so he drags his reluctant family along for the ride - with seemingly as much knowledge as the audience about the place they are going.

Itís on this flight we are also introduced to Hammond (Pierce Brosnan) who is conveniently sitting behind the family. After introducing himself as a fellow businessman and befriending the group, he offers them a ride to their hotel - a self-declared veteran traveller to this country, Hammond presents the family his friend and taxi-ride for the night Kenny Rogers - yes thats right, an avid fan of the country music star, he has even named his taxi after the singer. It may seem a little off at first - and heck, even slightly racist - but in the greater context you learn later on, it all makes more sense. Eventually arriving at their destination - a hotel which seemingly houses all the countries foreign tourists - the Dwyer family bed down for the night in this half-working hotel.

The next morning is when things begin to go awry, as Jack goes out in search of a morning paper. Already feeling a little uneasy, with the locals not exactly welcoming - things take a real turn for the worst when a mob suddenly turns up, facing-off against an army of riot police in a narrow alley. Trapped and with Ďno escapeí Jack fears for his life dodging both police and the angry citizens around him, making his way back to the hotel in search of his family things only begin to get worse.

In its first 30-40 minutes No Escape promises excellence, and it delivers with an intense - if highly unbelievable - situation that unfortunately slowly falls apart as the movie progresses. Owen Wilson manages to deliver a believable performance, even if you can feel the comedic expressions slowly oozing from beneath his surface.

No Escape is very much in the vein of blockbuster disaster movies, following the same tropes of constantly moving goalposts, outlandish situations - each trying to top the latter - annoying children and an enemy that seemingly makes no sense with the angry mob first having nothing but clubs, then the next scene showing a tank and military equipment, then back to basic weapons again when the script calls for it. These inconsistencies grow larger as the film goes on, with some scenes played to be overly melodramatic, but had me chuckling under my breath - and the less said about that scene involving Pierce Brosnan and a truck the better. No Escape like the title implies is a movie that sets up an event, but isnít quite sure where to go.

No Escape delivers a sweat-inducing first half-hour that will keep you glued to the seat, but ultimately a setup which results in floundering and unintentional comedy as it progresses. Owen Wilson delivers a rare and solid non-comedic performance that may be worthy of admission price alone for fans.

No Escape is currently available to buy on Blu-ray & DVD via Amazon or on-demand via Amazon Video.

  • Review by
    David Robinson

    Twitter: @5ypher

    Posted on
    3rd September 2015

  • 3 Out of 5 Stars
  • Loses its edge quickly

    Tone falters

  • Intense first half-hour

    Owen Wilson in drama

Film Info

No Escape No Escape
Rating: 15
Release Date: 4th September
Runtime: 1 hr 43 mins
Director: John Erick Dowdle
Starring: Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Sterling Jerins & Claire Geare

  • The Impossible
  • San Andreas

No, there are scenes of execution, murder and attempted rape.

Michelle Monaghan was originally meant to play Annie, but due to pregnancy Lake Bell was instead cast.