“No Escape” stars Owen Wilson as an American businessman relocated to an unnamed Southeast Asian country with his family just as a bloody coup d’état erupts. Directed and co-written by John Erick Dowdle, the film is obviously meant to cash in on the same audience that was so taken with “Taken,” which made Liam Neeson such a late-blooming action star.
The difference, of course, is that Owen Wilson is no Liam Neeson, nor is he meant to be here. He’s a mild-mannered Texan with two giggly daughters and a high-strung wife (Lake Bell). Even pre-coup, she would much rather have relocated someplace else, and who can blame her, especially when their ritzy hotel is invaded and machetes start chopping up Westerners.
This should all be risible except that Dowdle, who has worked in the horror genre, knows how to amp the action and keep the terror taut. Pierce Brosnan shows up as a vacationing British sot, except if you’ve ever read any Graham Greene, or John le Carré, you know right away there’s a lot more to this guy than carousing. “No Escape” is pretty trashy, but it held my attention, which is more than I can say for most of the summer fodder. Grade: B- (Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, and for language.)