Production Budget: $20 million
Gross: $15 million
Set in the future, Robbins (Ray Liotta) is sent to a super max prison which is an island in the middle of nowhere and the inmates fend for themselves. This is done after Robbins shoots his superior in the head. Robbins is a master escape artist and obviously has his sights set on leaving the island. Complications arise when he becomes entangled in the struggle between two groups on the island. There is one group (headed by Lance Henriksen) who tries to work together peacefully to make the best of their situation, and the other (headed by Stuart Wilson) is just out to murder and steal. Robbins has to decide whether his priorities come first, or whether he should help Henriksen’s tribe.
Yet another bomb I saw in theaters when I was a kid. I could sure pick em when I was a kid. I don’t know how I remembered to watch this again since I haven’t seen or heard ANYONE talk about this movie since. It certainly is an uncharacteristic movie for Ray Liotta. I can’t say I’ve seen too many ‘action scifi thrillers’ in the career of ol’ Ray. To my surprise though he actually does a pretty good job. I think the key is the fact for the longest time he plays more a dark anti hero. He is a violent man who you aren’t quite sure of his motivations. Even when he rejects working for Wilson’s character, it seems more out of frustration for dealing with such a clown than with any moral objections. It is only until later that you find out more about why he does what he does and what he wants.
I was actually liking No Escape for a good portion of it. I enjoyed the acting of Liotta (as mentioned before) as well as other good supporting character actors like Lance Henriksen, Ernie Hudson, and Ian McNeice. The action is well done overall and I enjoyed the plot. Robbins has to figure out how to escape the island (as well as the high tech security net which detects boats leaving) as well as keep himself safe from an island of criminals. Everything was going rather well…until we meet the main villain…
Stuart Wilson ruined this movie for me. Don’t know who Stuart Wilson is? He is the main bad guy from Lethal Weapon 3. Yeah, he sucked in that movie, and he sucks in this one too. Imagine how Wilson looked in LW3 except dressed almost exactly like Terl in Battlefield Earth (dreadlocks and all). My main problem is everyone else in this movie is actually trying to sell this as a serious movie and he is the only person chewing the scenery. And when I say ‘chewing the scenery’ I mean eating so much he will be crapping dry wall for a month. He is just prancing around with this shit eating grin on this face and delivering one liners so hammy Rodney Dangerfield would shake his head in shame. It is such a horrible tonal shift having Ray crying his eyes out in one scene, only to have Wilson jumping around in the next like some court jester. Consequently, there is also no tension in any of the battles between Liotta and Wilson’s character. It would mean a little more if you had an actor that could build on some menace and make us want him to get his comeuppance. But no, we recognize him for the utter buffoon that he is and I realize he can do nothing to harm our main protagonist. Well done, you single handedly killed this movie Wilson. *stands up and applauds *
Overall, No Escape is an…aiight movie. The setting is good, the plot is interesting, and most of the actors really try to sell it. But the main villain is so bad he had me wanting to turn the TV off every time he was on screen. Don’t get me wrong, this movie did have other minor problems. It’s not like if you got rid of him this would have been a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination. But his role in this movie turns it from being maybe a cult B movie people should check out, to a missed opportunity.