No Escape ***
Laid back and chilled-out Owen Wilson plays against type as an American dad, Jack Dwyer, caught up in a fight for his family’s lives as they attempt to escape political unrest in an unnamed Southeast Asian country.
In a story that could be ripped from the headlines, industrial engineer Dwyer has just relocated his reluctant family from the U.S. to a non-descript impoverished Asian nation that borders Vietnam. On the same night as the family arrives, leaders of a coup assassinate the Western-friendly prime minister and immediately began killing all foreigners.
Filled with family drama, tension, exotic sights (the film was produced in Thailand) and plenty of frightening images, “No Escape” enlists the talents of Pierce Brosnan as an Ex-Pat Brit who’s not all he seems, and Lake Bell (“Boston Legal”) as Dwyer’s wife.
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While the stunts and series of escapes, with an 8- and 11-year-old in tow no less, are pretty far-fetched, and less than fully believable, the film is rife with tension. Enough sympathy is built for the family, that by its conclusion, believable or not, you’re fully invested in this bit of escapism.
What do those stars mean?
* Really, really, really bad. Don’t bother.
** Pretty bad, with one or more redeeming scenes.
*** Pretty good, but maybe not great, worth seeing for most
**** Really great, a winning combination of story, casting, and directing
***** The rarest gem, an all-around perfect motion picture