No Escape\No Surrender

No Escape: Owen Wilson plays a father who is sent overseas to an unnamed Asian country (the “fourth-world according to fake-wife Lake Bell) to help build their waterworks. Of course, his 75family’s arrival coincides terribly with a coup within this country, and an uprising of the people, particularly against foreigners who have taken over – you got it, their waterworks. So Owen Wilson has to call on reserves of badassery he didn’t know he had to get his wife and two daughters to safety. And he fails. So thank god for Pierce Brosnan who saves his ass a number of times, but sadly, not innumerably. There is a limit, and it will keep you on the edge of you god damned seat. Actually, that’s the one thing this movie does really, really well: it’s 98% adrenaline rush. The tension is taut, relentless, masterful. There’s only about 1m30s where you breathe comfortably, and that’s only because you know a bad thing is coming and you can just kind of be zen about it.

Sean didn’t really care for it. This might be a knock on Owen Wilson’s manhood (try not to picture me knocking on his semi-erect penis), but Sean just didn’t think this guy was up to the task. He also didn’t think the situation was believable in the first place – that a group of Americans would just be left to fend for themselves, and that IF they were, for some odd reason, that Owen Wilson of all people could keep anyone alive for more than maybe 5 minutes or so. no-escape-pierce-brosnan-owen-wilson-slice-600x200And given some of the choices this guy makes, I have to agree. I was also annoyed by the kids. The truth is, as actors they were pretty impressive. But I find kids in these kinds of thrillers to just be god-awful. They’re always making noise when they shouldn’t, defying direct orders, coming out of hiding places, squawking, refusing to do what’s necessary, complaining about having to go potty, or that they’re hungry, or that their favourite doll got left behind. And if you’ve got a wife who’s kind of whiny too, it’s not long before I’m yelling at the screen: “Leave them behind! You can start a new family later! Second spouses are the best!” And once I start yelling that kind of shit at the screen, game over.

An interesting tidbit: Ruth at Flix Chatter wrote a really interesting piece on the Dowdle brothers, who happen to be the writers\director of this film. She always does a great job, but this interview really caught my eye and if you have any interest at all, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.

We saw this movie at the drive-in, and as always, it’s a double bill. Truth time: the title is a lie. The second movie was actually Self\less, and it was worst than the first. And not just because the hicks in the car beside us, windows rolled down so we could hear them puzzle out each scene incorrectly, spoiled the whole thing by not understanding it in the least but loudly offering their idiotic theories.

Self\less is about a wealthy business magnate played by Ben Kingsley, who is on his deathbed when he gets an ashow_filenonymous tip: there may be a way out of this death thing. Turns out, if you are brilliant enough and have several hundreds of millions of dollars (let’s dwell on that for a bit: Several. HUNDREDS. Of millions. Of dollars.), you can pay this mad scientist to fake your death and transplant your “self” into a healthy young body grow in a lab. This scientist is just so selfless himself, apart from the payday, that he doesn’t want to deprive the world of the most elite idea makers. The catch? No one can know. You say goodbye to your whole life and live as this other person. So, in effect, the plot has already shot itself in the foot because when Ben Kingsley wakes up in Ryan Reynolds’ body, he can’t just walk back to the Kingsley empire and untitledhelm the ship. Kingsley is dead to the world, and Reynolds is a nobody who is frankly ready for retirement, except for getting a few quick pieces of hot ass (and who can blame him?) The other catch? (C’mon, there’s ALWAYS another catch!): a lifetime of pills. The pills keep Ryan Reynolds at bay. Because the scientist lied. This isn’t some body grown in lab, it’s a murdered man whose “self” keeps surfacing, with flashbacks of his life, wife, and daughter. Awkward!

This movie is interesting in theory but decides to spit on the philosophical implications and just go for cheap thrills and action instead.

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26 thoughts on “No Escape\No Surrender

  1. reocochran

    I was afraid of this about Owen Wilson. I really like him, though. He is potentially able to be this Good Guy. I honestly think he could. I just have to blame the script. It sounds like a tough place to be. Thanks, Jay. I will save my movie money and go get it from library or redbox. 🙂

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    1. Jay Post author

      You’re right. It is the script’s problem. He wasn’t right for the role, but the role also sucked. He’s good in a lot of things and I’m glad to see him trying new things.

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  2. Carrie Rubin

    My husband wants to see ‘No Escape,’ so I figure we’ll go next weekend. But I too was wondering about Owen Wilson in that role. I’m an Owen Wilson fan, but I never envisioned him in that type of movie. Guess I’ll soon find out for myself…

    “Second spouses are the best!”—Ha! Doesn’t look like I’ll ever find out if that’s true or not, but I’m good sticking with spouse #1. 🙂

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    1. Jay Post author

      Owen Wilson himself is not the problem. It’s really the character who makes questionable choice after questionable choice. You can’t help but be annoyed by it, and if you’re annoyed with him, thenyou’re not really rooting for him to live. Which is probably for the best.

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  3. msmariah1

    Self/less looks so contrived. It’s getting to the point where I won’t watch a Ryan Reynolds film unless I’m under duress. Perhaps it would take the type of duress in ‘No Escape.’ I agree with Sean. Ain’t no way Owen Wilson is getting out alive. Jasson Statham, yes. Owen Wilson, no.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Contrived is a very good word. There’s this huge set up, and then they neglect it. Um. Hello? And yeah, I can’t think of Ryan in anything I’ve liked. I did find it funny when he wakes up in the Ryan body and it’s supposed to be all atrophied from disuse and he has to learn to walk and grip – but somehow Ryan has these ready-made bulging biceps and hell yes they show him shirtless (in the shower no less).

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  4. diahannreyes

    Wondering if this is Wilson’s attempt to stretch himself into other genres. And I love Ben Kingsley- hoping that his movie about driving lessons is a bit more satisfying than this flick.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yes I hope so too!

      And Wilson wasn’t really the problem. I don’t mean to blame him. It’s the character that was such a ninny but somehow outsmarted and outgunned thousands of terrorists.

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  5. ruth

    Hey thanks for the link. I don’t think Wilson’s character’s supposed to be an action hero and he just barely made it out alive thanks to Brosnan’s. It was REALLY tense for me, I don’t usually go for thrillers like this on the big screen.

    Self\less is awful!! Wish Hollywood would stop casting Ryan Reynolds, the dude’s got zero charisma and questionable acting skills. If Matthew Goode had been the lead I think the film would’ve been more bearable.

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      1. ruth

        Ahah, I’d agree about Reynolds as I’ve seen enough of his crapfest but I’ve only seen Lively in a couple of things & I actually think she’s much more watchable than her husband.

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