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John Erick Dowdle
Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan, Sterling Jerins, Claire Geare
Writing Credits:
John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle

In their new overseas home, an American family soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and they frantically look for a safe escape from an environment where foreigners are being immediately executed.

Box Office:
$5 million.
Opening Weekend
$8,111,264 on 3,355 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 11/24/2015

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director John Erick Dowdle and Writer Drew Dowdle
• Two Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• Behind the Scenes Gallery
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


No Escape [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 15, 2015)

Though best-known for comedies like Wedding Crashers, Owen Wilson goes dramatic with 2015’s No Escape. When a work opportunity presents itself, aquatic engineer Jack Dwyer (Wilson) settles his wife Annie (Lake Bell) and daughters Lucy (Sterling Jerins) and Beeze (Claire Geare) in Southeast Asia.

Matters almost immediately go awry. A coup leaves the Prime Minister dead and the country in chaos as rebellion ensues.

As this occurs, Jack finds himself in a marketplace and separated from his family. He needs to get back from them and leave the country before they fall victim to the insurgents, combatants who execute foreigners. We follow the Dwyers as Jack attempts to guide them to safety.

With Escape, we get a new version of an old concept: the ordinary man stuck in extraordinary circumstances. Hitchcock took on that theme many times, but don’t expect Escape to resemble a Hitchcock film beyond that general idea.

Instead, Escape really focuses on the “action” side of the action-thriller genre, at least in terms of mayhem. Our protagonist doesn’t get all that involved in much combat; for most of the film, Jack simply runs/hides as he tries to shepherd his family to safety.

Nonetheless, the film comes with lots of sequences that favor action elements like gunfire and explosions. The Dwyers bop from one violent confrontation to another, without a whole lot of letup or opportunity for much more than pandemonium.

This seems good and bad. On one hand, it makes sense for the story at hand, as Escape wants to place its characters in the midst of crazed, disturbing circumstances. In that regard, the film does fine for itself, as it presents a series of fairly exciting action sequences.

On the negative side, Escape plods for its first act and suffers from lapses in logic. It seems like a stretch to accept that the civil unrest occurs with apparently no advance warning. Based on the way the film depicts the confrontations, the rebellion doesn’t seem to be impromptu, so shouldn’t Jack and the others have known that social problems existed?

Escape also lacks lead characters who seem especially interesting. I guess that makes sense, as Jack really is supposed to be the “common man”, but he doesn’t show much depth or personality. We root for him in the generic sense but we never care for him in an especially deep way, and we feel the same about his wife and kids. Do we want them to escape? Sure, but we don’t care as much as we should.

The film comes to life best when it features the quirky Hammond character (Pierce Brosnan). Due to our prior experiences with Brosnan as well as our understanding of this sort of film, we know he won’t be what he initially seems to be, but I don’t mind that predictable arc. Brosnan brings a seedy charm to his handful of scenes and elevates the movie whenever he appears.

Unfortunately, this usually makes us wish we could watch a film about Hammond and not the Dwyers. This doesn’t become a fatal flaw, but it’s not a positive when the viewer would rather spend time with a secondary character instead of with the leads.

All of this leaves No Escape as a mixed bag. The movie pulls off its action sequences well and creates occasional moments of excitement/tension. However, it comes with lackluster characters and a general absence of real tension. Nothing here flops but not enough of the film excels for it to become above average.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

No Escape appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image seemed satisfactory.

Sharpness was usually strong. A few nighttime shots looked a little off, but those remained infrequent. The majority of the flick displayed concise, distinctive elements. I saw no jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes failed to mar the image. Print flaws also didn’t appear.

In terms of palette, Escape favored a moderate orange/teal push. It kept these hues more subdued than many of its peers, though, so they didn’t overwhelm, and they came across with reasonably clarity. Blacks showed good depth and darkness, but shadows could be a bit dense, usually in those aforementioned night shots. Despite a few inconsistencies, the movie mostly provided appealing visuals.

I also felt happy with the solid DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Escape. As an action thriller, the film came with a good number of chances to use the soundscape, and it did well for itself. The mix offered gunfire, helicopters and other mayhem that showed up in logical spots. These elements meshed together well and created a lively soundfield.

Audio quality was also positive. Music sounded lively and full, while effects delivered accurate material. Those elements showed nice clarity and kick, with tight low-end. Speech was always distinctive and concise, too. This mix worked well for the film.

A few extras flesh out the set. We get an audio commentary from writer/director John Erick Dowdle and writer Drew Dowdle, both of whom sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, action and stunts, editing, cinematography, and music.

The brothers combine well and give us a satisfying look at the film. They mix movie facts with a few anecdotes to flesh out the elements in a useful manner. Despite a smattering of lulls, this usually becomes a likable, informative chat.

Two deleted scenes come next. We find “Hotel Morning” (3:10) and “Hammond’s Breakdown” (1:58). In “Morning”, Jack runs into Hammond before the rebellion and gets a veiled warning of problems to come. It adds a little exposition but seems unnecessary in the greater scheme of things.

“Breakdown” comes during one of the movie’s action scenes and shows more with Hammond’s efforts to deal with the rebellion. Other than an attempt to give Pierce Brosnan a little more screen time, it doesn’t contribute a lot.

We can view the scenes with or without commentary from John Erick Dowdle. He tells us aspects of the shots and lets us know why the sequences got the boot. Dowdle’s thoughts give us minor insights.

A Behind the Scenes Gallery shows 13 minutes, 40 seconds of interviews. We hear from Owen Wilson (2:56), Lake Bell (3:13), Pierce Brosnan (3:42), and the Dowdle brothers (3:49). In these, we get info about story/characters, cast and performances, stunts and action. A few decent nuggets emerge, but the clips mostly remain promotional in nature.

The disc opens with an ad for Southpaw. No trailer for Escape appears here.

A second disc offers a DVD copy of Escape. It provides the same extras as the Blu-ray.

With No Escape, we find a sporadically interesting action thriller. Though it comes with some exciting moments, it seems too erratic to really succeed. The Blu-ray offers good picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. Mo Escape turns into an average action experience.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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