Possessing a sense of xenophobia that would make the makers of Taken blush, the movie presents the inhabitants of this unnamed South Asian city as barbaric and vengeful.
Referred to by Wilson’s character as residents of “the fourth world” at one stage, they are almost universally batshit crazy and baying for American blood. I can’t imagine the tourist boards of South Asian nations will be too thrilled.
It’s a strange distraction from an otherwise solid thriller with some super action sequences. The main problem with the movie is the implausibility of some of the plotting. The affable Owen Wilson is Jack Dwyer, a down-on-his-luck staffer for a water company who moves his family east in the hope of getting more steady employment and a better way of life.
Jetlagged after the lengthy trip, his wife (Lake Bell) and their two young daughters start to regret the move when they check into the shabby hotel that is to be their home. They don’t know the half of it.
Although you’d think a cursory google before departure may have warned them of peril, they land oblivious to the fact that their new home is in a state of political crisis.
A violent and bloody coup is taking place amid a political uprising. And the vast majority of those on the streets want resident Americans – who they blame for their poverty – dead, for reasons that are barely explained.
If you can leave aside the lack of context and the strange barbaric baddies, No Escape works effectively. There are some fantastic action and chase sequences – one in which the couple are forced to takes enormous risks with their kids stands out – and a real sense of jitteriness.
Brosnan is great, and brings some light relief, as a flaky fellow Westerner who may or may not be able to help them. An odd end-of-summer action flick, then, but one which Wilson and Bell manage to keep human and relatable.
THE VERDICT: An effective, though deeply eccentric, action thriller (3/5).