No Escape (2015)
Starring Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Sterling Jerins, Claire Geare, and Pierce Brosnan
Directed by John Erick Dowdle
Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) realizes the difficulties involved in moving his wife Annie (Lake Bell) and his daughters Lucy (Sterling Jerins) and Beeze (Claire Geare) to a foreign (unnamed) Asian nation near Vietnam, but when his new job for Cardiff Industries wants him to oversee the installation of water systems, he totes his family along for the ride. Upon their arrival, the Dwyers face a bit of a culture shock with tv's, telephones, and electrical outlets not working in their hotel, but they're seemingly willing to face the difficulties seeing as how Jack had been out of work for quite a while. Rather unfortunate, however, the night of the Dwyers' arrival, the Prime Minister of this unnamed country is murdered by a large group of rebels upset that their water systems are being sold out to an American company. The assassination of the head of the government sets off a massive riot in which huge portions of the population set out to kill all the Americans in their country as well as anyone trying to help them. The Dwyers are forced to run for their lives, attempting to find a safe haven in the midst of the violent chaos.
Director John Erick Dowdle (who co-wrote the film with his brother Drew) is best known for horror flicks (some good, some not so good) and No Escape is really his first mainstream venture outside of that genre. While I actually thought he did a decent job of capturing the familial aspects of the script -- I found Wilson and Bell to be believable as parents desperate to do what it takes to keep their daughters alive -- the action aspects of the plot and the motivations of the rioters oftentimes seem silly or ludicrous. This is one of those films where the bad guys capture the good guys and then stand around pointing their guns at them as opposed to simply shooting them quickly. The bad guys have a little conversation (here, in an unsubtitled foreign language so it makes even less sense) while the good guys can formulate a plan for escape. Dowdle also peppers his direction with some really silly tricks - the aforementioned slow motion, as an example - that don't do anything except invoke laughter.
No Escape also runs on a little too long and grows a bit repetitive which is why, in the end, I had to rank this just below a RyMickey recommendation. While I don't think it's quite as bad as other critics made it out to be, there's just one too many faults to really make it worthwhile.
The RyMickey Rating: C-