No Escape

Rated 2.0

Owen Wilson and Lake Bell act scared shitless with the best of them in No Escape, an occasionally gripping but mostly silly American tourist nightmare from director John Erick Dowdle. There are some tense moments and decent sequences in the movie, but it's an insipid affair in the end, and all of Wilson and Bell's bug-eyed hyperventilating is for naught. Wilson plays Jack Dwyer, husband to Annie (Bell) and father of two girls, Lucy (Sterling Jerins) and Beeze (Claire Geare). After his company has failed, he takes a job overseas in an unnamed nefarious Asian country. Not long after arriving at their hotel, Jack goes out for a newspaper, only to witness a rebel uprising and the murder of an American in the street. Jack must get back to the hotel ahead of a bloodthirsty mob, corral the wife and kids, and commence running for their lives. After suddenly becoming some sort of action star able to outrun mobs and scale buildings, Jack eventually finds the family. They take to the hotel rooftop, where a bunch of tourists and hotel employees are holing up. They can't keep the wolves at bay, and things get so bad that Jack has to throw his kids from one rooftop to the other while his wife catches them. This sequence, shot in painful slow motion, stands as the best part of the movie. Actually, it's the only really good part of the movie. The rest of the film features an unknown enemy that epitomizes every horror film cliché pursuing helpless American victims. The screenplay tries to position the Americans as slightly villainous as well, having conspired to steal the country's clean drinking water, or something like that. None of it really works.