Sunday, June 21, 2015

NO ESCAPE (1994)

Ray Liotta is a military dude who's sent to prison for killing his commanding officer.  Why he's sent to a normal prison instead of a military prison I don't know, but he's there and he doesn't like it.  He immediately bumps head with the warden and because so he's then sent to a top secret island prison the warden has created for some unexplained reason.  Anyway, there's like 700 dudes on this island (all of them straight and 99% of them white).  Six-hundred of them are in the "bad" gang and the remainders in the "good" camp.  The bad guys live in the jungle and are lead by some fruity fellow with three bridge piercings.  The good guys live on a walled-in farm and follow The Father, played by Lance Henriksen.  As expected the good guys and the bad guys fight a lot and there's various attempts to escape the island.

I remember seeing NO ESCAPE back when it originally came out and only being mildly amused.  Watching it again now, for the first time in 20 years, I enjoyed the nostalgia of it, the filmmaking style, the quick pace, the strong cast and the island locations, but overall it's a pretty "Meh." movie.  Mainly thanks on the sheer amount of plot holes (there's too many to even list here), the miscasting of the bad guy boss (he's completely non-threatening and there is absolutely no way he could keep 600 psychos in line), the lack of any gritty violence (if these guys are the worse of the worse then this island would just be a non-stop Hell of raping, mutilation, perversions, etc.) or memorable action scenes (how could the producer behind ALIENS, TREMORS, TERMINATOR 1 & 2, THE ABYSS, ALIEN NATION and the future director of  GOLDENEYE and CASINO ROYALE not realize the importance of awesome, jaw-dropping action scenes???) and the unsatisfying ending (I'm not going to spoil it, but that ending was lame).  And it looks like audiences thought the same thing because after debuting at the #1 box office position on 1,763 screens NO ESCAPE quickly dropped off and didn't even make it's $20 million budget back!  Yikes.

Worth a watch for fans of 90's action films.  Would make an interesting double-feature with 1993's FORTRESS.