No Escape


Tourism horror (Hostel, Turistas, etc) from the brothers who previously dropped us into demon-plagued underground Paris (quelle souterreur! Pas vraiment), No Escape is stupidly political. Spiritually, that title’s a warning to your soul, via your vulnerable eye-windows. This is like watching The Amazing Race remixed as a disaster-film and stewed into The Killing Fields as a base-flavour of anti-Asian racism simmers hatefully up from the bottom of the pot.

An American family—water-company engineer Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), wife Annie (Lake Bell), daughters Lucy and Beeze—having just moved to an unnamed Southeast-Asian country, finds themselves caught in a coup d’état. The moment Jack sees Unnamed White Guy murdered in the street, it’s clear Americans are especially ripe targets for all these marauding Eastern hordes’ machetes. It’s a savage, jungle-style hack-attack—in hotels, offices, shops. Only four natives, all men, help the never-say-Dwyers, resolutely led by Macho Dad, along the way: one says nothing amid a scary street crowd; one’s old and kindly; one wants Jack’s watch and shoes in return; one’s an ever-grinning, Kenny Rogers-loving pal of “British CIA” guy Hammond (Pierce Brosnan), who executes 007-style shootouts to help everyone’s favourite Yankee Clan Brimming Over With Love.

The xenophobia tailspins on, reaching peak-plummet-speed when Annie, captured by the posse of nasties long pursuing them like demon-hounds, is immediately almost raped (only to be saved by Super-Hammond). Vietnam’s just half-a-mile downriver, though—so convenient in a sudden SE-Asia travel emergency! (Cambodia, implied as the story’s setting, has a strong case for cultural libel here.)

Forget that there’s never been a coup like this in the region. Never mind Annie’s panicking-female stereotype. Shrug off Hammond’s explanation of the West’s meddling, so simplistic that even a 9/11-truther would scoff. Because it’s not just the fetid feeling that “Slant-Eyed Devils!!!” may as well be blazoned in a scarlet chop-suey font on screen. It’s all the political turmoil and revolt here as revolting horror—with so many scattered dead and live Asian bodies just obstacles for America’s No 1 tighty-whitey family—that makes No Escape an atrocity in its retrograde, racist exploitation of civil strife for cheap and nasty, low-down dirty, tawdrily thrilling ends.

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Directed by John Erick Dowdle


  • What a dreadful, manipulative and disingenuous review. You lied and misrepresented the film several times. “Anti-Asian racism simmers hatefully up from the bottom of the pot” So you missed the parts where Pierce Brosnan loves the local people, says he’s been there 15 times and tells Wilson that he’ll “Love it here”? Or the part where the Asian management staff help Owen Wilson and try to protect him? Or the local people who cheerfully wave to the family?

    “that makes No Escape an atrocity in its retrograde, racist exploitation of civil strife for cheap and nasty, low-down dirty, tawdrily thrilling ends.” I can tell you are one of those people that went into this film hoping to hate it after watching the trailers. Funny how you didn’t mention anything in the film to do with…. THE FILM! You were just bitching about possible interpretations. Guess what kiddo? If this were a civil fight in Russia, would you call the film racist? NO! But I bet you didn’t call Die Hard 5 Xenophobic.

    “Forget that there’s never been a coup like this in the region” Oh No! A fiction film has fictitious aspects to it?! Oh Dear GOD The Humanity!

    You are a dreadful reviewer. You mischaracterise the film for your opportunistic and righteous whinging (10 bucks says you did communications at University). But we get it, you’ll do anything for attention and people patting you on the back… Useless review (not to mention poorly written and repetitive)

    • The critic is exact on every point of his dismissal of this putrid film. But what alarms me, is that you are so righteously for this dismal trash fire. The lives of others are not on equal footing at all in this film, to say the least. This film exploits xenophobia with an exploitive xenophobic edge and not my response to you nor this concisely written review will not change your cognitive dissonance. Your lens is myopic and highly colored. Here’s a test, let’s see if you’re capable of understanding another point of view….Let’s reverse it…change all of the Thai characters to your good ole fashioned, standard issue white faces. Now, turn the brown faces into Caucasians and make owen wilson’s mug an actor like, say, Ken Watanabe or how about Will Smith and his wife, Michelle Yeoh or Kery Washington. Now that the film is reversed, think………..wait……wait…think….think….how does the film feel to you now?

  • “Forget that there’s never been a coup like this in the region”. Are you kidding me ? Cambodia ? If you look closer you will see that the “villains” are even dressed like the notorious “Khmer Rouge” of the past. Estimated killings : between one to three million. However this is not the point. The point is that the movie has its roots in a book called “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” written by John Perkins and published in 2004. And this book is no fiction at all. Therefore if you think that this is an absolutely fictitious movie think again.

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