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Film / No Escape

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A 2015 action/thriller film directed by John Erick Dowdle (who cowrote the screenplay with his brother Drew), starring Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, and Pierce Brosnan.

Jack Dwyer (Wilson) is an American who just moved to an unnamed Asian country for work along with his wife, Annie (Bell), and their two daughters. Shortly after they arrive, civil unrest breaks out and rebels start massacring foreigners. The film focuses on the Dwyer family's attempt to escape the country, only to find, well, that there might be no escape. Assisting them is Hammond (Brosnan), a British man they've met and befriended.


No Escape provides examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Jack Dwyer and Hammond, but to some extent the rest of his family. They're not trying to stop the soldiers or end the fighting, just make it to safety alive.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Jack isn't just trying to save himself, much of his worry comes from the fact he's trying to protect his two young daughters.
    • The whole insurgency is a threat to anyone that tries to either escape or assist those who do, extending to every man, woman and child on their kill-list.
    • Throwing not one, but two children across two buildings with your wife catching them is horrifying.
  • Arc Words: "Blood for Water", or anything in between, is the literal reason why the rebels decided to take on everyone by storm, killing anyone who is involved in the water company that is said to have bankrupted their country.
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  • The Atoner: Hammond lost his family in the same way Jack will if he doesn't get a hold of himself, due to a water company exacting a large debt against the locals.
  • Attempted Rape: During the garden scene, Annie is nearly raped by the rebels' leader while Jack is Forced to Watch, until Hammond and "Kenny Rogers" come in to rescue them.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Despite not understanding them, the old man from the newspaper shop assists Jack and family by hiding them in the garden while deflecting the insurgents' suspicion, only because Jack paid a few dollars to him and after he saw he had kids.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Hammond and "Kenny Rogers", of all people, saved Jack and his family from the insurgents right before the nasty stuff happened to them in a garden across town.
  • Death from Above: Helicopter-borne insurgents inflict this on a group of foreigners trapped on a rooftop, opening fire on them with AK-47's. Only sheer luck keeps Jack and his family from getting hit in the barrage.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: After the escape from the office building, the Dwyers take clothing from the dead and leave on a moped. They run into a rebel procession, and they do not attract any attention because their faces are covered just like the rebels.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Hammond kills a handful of insurgents during family's escape, then runs down the building with a gunshot wound in his chest. Then, he finally shoots the driver of an army truck who was about to chase them on the road, crushing him along with the truck instead.
  • Far East: The film's setting is an AU version of where Cambodia should be, close to the Vietnam border.
  • The Government: It's implied that the U.K. and U.S. governments is also probably to blame for the destabilization of the country (and other similar situations around the world). At least according to Hammond, whom appears to be a government spook of some kind.
  • Gunpoint Banter: At the near end, some Jerkass insurgents have both Jack and his daughter, Lucy, at gunpoint. With Lucy forced to point a revolver at her father's head.
  • Hope Spot: The film is one long chain of these, each one worse than the last. Yay, a helicopter is approaching the rooftop where all the foreign tourists are! Oh no, it's actually the rebels! Yay, they've reached the American embassy! Oh no, everyone's been killed!
  • Irony: The lives of a family of Americans are saved by escaping into Communist Vietnam.
  • Knight Templar: The insurgents killed the prime minister only because they could not pay the water bills.
  • Language Barrier: An interesting plot point, as a "What If?" situation when survivors are stranded in the middle of an urban side of the world with no one able to understand a word you're saying.
  • Potty Failure: Beeze is forced to pee her pants while hiding from the rebels.
  • The Reveal: The reason why the insurgency broke out is due to the aggressive pushes of the water company towards the city. The rebels could not pay the bills of the foreign company and decided to stage a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown against anyone that tries to justify the company or escape their wrath.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The coup is violent, bloody, and not only involves civilians but actively targets them.
  • Rules Lawyer: The People's Army of Vietnam. They are prepared to shoot Jack and his family as they're slowly drifting towards the border, but once they're in, the soldiers turn their guns towards the rebels, saying that firing on Jack's family would constitute an act of war.
  • Slo-Mo Big Air: The most famous shot in the trailer is a bullet-time shot of Jack throwing his daughter from a roof to safety on another rooftop.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: So as not to insult anyone, great lengths were gone to in order to make the setting as vague as possible. Despite being filmed in Thailand, no Thai is spoken or seen written (except on the hotel sign). The police officers' shields have a modified Cambodian script, and dialogue is a mix of several languages.
  • White Male Lead: Despite being set in an Asian country, the film is focused solely on Jack Dwyer and his desire to protect his family. Justified in that he's being targeted specifically for his status being a symbol of the economic imperialism that caused the riots in the first place.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Well, completely insane, poor freedom fighters.
  • Yellow Peril: The film initially plays up the exoticness of the setting, but later on all (and only) Asian characters become a threat to Jack and his family. Though subverted in the end when the family is saved by the Vietnamese Army, "Kenny Rogers" being one of the good guys and Hammond's Number Two, the indiscriminate nature of the killings against locals, and the large number of locals willing to help Jack's family escape, even at risk to themselves.


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