Stay alert if you’re a white guy from Texas (Owen Wilson) who’s just taken a job in a conveniently unnamed country in Southeast Asia (the film was shot in Thailand, which should sue). It’s tough shit for this dude that the locals, pissed-off at a U.S. imperialist grab at their water supply, have just staged a coup and are on a bloodlust rampage, leaving bodies everywhere. If you’re like Wilson’s clueless American named Jack and don’t turn your middle-management skills into killer 007 survival instincts stat, these avatars of the “yellow peril” will rape your wife Annie (Lake Bell) and kill your bratty, pre-teen girls, Lucy (Sterling Jerins) and Beeze (Claire Geare). Fortunately a former 007 does show up in the roguish person of Pierce Brosnan’s Hammond, a grizzled Brit with ties to…oh you can probably guess since the movie is crushingly predictable. As for the nonwhite members of the community, who cares? This movie doesn’t.
That’s the setup for the shamelessly risible and racist No Escape, the screwiest mix of suspense and stereotypes since Michael Bay was a pup. Horrorshow director John Erick Dowdle (Quarantine, As Above, So Below), who wrote the script with his bro Drew Dowdle, boasts a technical proficiency with handheld camerawork, jittery editing and nonstop gore. This movie really moves. But a fleet of tanks couldn’t help the brothers Dowdle push past the plot holes in this rancid mess. Wilson and Bell looks out of breath, but from running not acting. Even in the dog days of summer, when quality escapism is rare, seeing No Escape would have to qualify as an act of audience desperation.