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No Escape

movie review out of 4


*Also starring: Lance Henriksen, Stuart Wilson, Kevin Dillon, Ian McNeice, Ernie Hudson



Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

NO ESCAPE is a non-stop action flick in the Steven Seagal genre. You get to witness lots and lots of people dying many different horrible deaths in front of your very eyes. Especially popular are impalements, but decapitations are also quite the rage. Actually, I like some of these extreme action movies, but only if there is a fast paced story behind it all as in DIE HARD or UNDER SIEGE and only if you can care about the people. NO ESCAPE had neither of these attributes.

NO ESCAPE is set in the year 2022 in an island prison run by an evil big business. Can you imagine a Hollywood movie where a big business was not evil? Oh well, I digress. There are the bad prisoners, called the outsiders, and the good prisoners, called the insiders, on the island. Ray Liotta, making an attempt at a good guy for a change, is one of the insiders and hence gets to kill dozens and dozens of outsiders in various horrible ways. The chief of the outsiders is played by Stuart Wilson, and he is given dialog where he utters one joke after another. The jokes manage rarely to be funny however. The script by Michael Gaylin, Joel Gross, and Richard Herley was full of nonsense laced with failed attempts at humor.

The major failing of the movie is that of the director,Martin Campbell, and the script writers. They have made characters that you do not care if they live or die. The movie consists of one battle after another with many chases through the forest. Maybe if they had edited it down to 30 minutes, it would have worked as a "Twilight Zone" episode, but 1 hour and 58 minutes was way too long. It was done by the same producer as ALIENS 3 which was a huge turkey after two great ALIENS episodes before #3. ALIENS 3 also happens in an ugly prison in the future that looks like the past.

The sets here were cute if a bit ridiculous. Prisons in 2022 it turns out will look a lot like 13th century China complete with costumes for warriors of that era.

My biggest disappointment was with Ray Liotta. He played one of the scariest ex-cons ever in Jonathan Demme's Something Wild and has been excellent in many other shows since, e. g. , GOODFELLAS and UNLAWFUL ENTRY. In this movie, he is, well, boring. His performance was that of ROBOCOP but without ROBOCOP's humor.

Copyright 1994 Steve Rhodes

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