‘No Escape’ is Uneven but Incredibly Intense

No_Escape_(2015_film)_posterWell that was intense.

“No Escape” stars Owen Wilson and Lake Bell as parents who move their family from America to Asia, just as a bloody revolution gets underway (hate when that happens). With the aid of Pierce Brosnan, they must make their way to the American embassy. John Erick Dowdle directs and co-writes.

When I saw the trailer for “No Escape,” I laughed. Aside from the unintentionally hilarious slow-motion kid tossing (more on that in a second), I couldn’t imagine a world where Owen Wilson could be taken seriously in a gloomy drama like this. But after seeing the film, I owe Owen (lol) an apology: he and the film aren’t that bad.

For what it sets out to do, the film does very well; this is an incredibly intense and at times very uncomfortable viewing experience. So if you thought films like “Ant-Man” or “Mission: Impossible” were too fun or feel-good summer romps, then here’s what will quench your late summer thirst.

There are several seriously intense sequences in this film, and most of it is attributed to director Erick Dowdle. Whether it is Wilson trying to outrun a group of revolutionaries up a ladder, or tossing his kids off a roof to escape said revolutionaries (hold on, I’m almost to that), the film knows where to place the camera and how often to switch angels to create an uneasy, edge-of-your-seat feeling.

OK, so about this slow-motion child chucking. It’s in the trailer, and I hoped it would stay there, because I laughed when seeing it. But nope; it’s in the finished product, and it’s just as funny. The scene is still intense, but it is hard to be taken seriously when an act that in reality should take three seconds lasts 30.

The other thing about the film that bothered me was the cliché idiot actions of the film’s characters, especially the 10-year-old daughter (played by Sterling Jerins). She constantly questions her dad’s instructions and on more than one occasion puts the family in danger with her ignorance. This actually added to the intensity of some scenes, if only because I was frustrated at her character.

Oh, and Pierce Brosnan is in the movie doing his Pierce Brosnan thing. He hams it up, hits on women and shoots some bad guys. You know, a day in the office for him.

Look, if you want a good movie then best try elsewhere than “No Escape” (we are in the dog days of August, after all). But if you just want a talented and surprisingly effective cast giving some B-movie thrills, then this is your ticket to a good time. Well, “good” in the relative sense of the word, at least.

Critics Rating: 6/10