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Sunday, October 5, 2008

No Escape (1994) AKA Escape from Absolom

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No guards. No walls. No escape.

What is it with guys like Ray Liotta and Lance Henriksen? They are great character actors, but once they take the lead, their films seem to be forgotten or ridiculed. "No Escape" is a particularly interesting flick considering that both Liotta and Henriksen appear in it. Not to mention Ernie Hudson and Stuart Wilson, who are two other top-notch actors who seem to be stuck in ruts.

This film didn't get much recognition in its day. I caught it at the movies years ago and loved it. Sure, it borrows from flicks like "Escape From New York" and I even see a little "Island of Dr. Moreau" in there, but it is an excellent film on its own merit. It has a stock story of a man who has committed a crime in order to right a wrong. He is banished to an island prison where no one escapes. On this island there are two factions: Insiders and Outsiders. One group is peaceful and lives in a semi-Utopian society whereas the other lives primarily under the rule of one man, Wilson. Henriksen plays the "Father," who quietly leads the Insiders. When Robbins, played by Liotta, falls into the game, he is sought out by Wilson's Marek, but ends up with the Insiders.

Naturally, Liotta decides he has to escape the island to prove his case and to seek out freedom. What follows is raid after raid and the eventual final battle, full of deception and action. But don't let this simplistic and borrowed tale deceive you. This is a fun film to watch and the primary characters are solidly developed.

Ernie Hudson heads up a strong supporting cast that features Kevin Dillon as a hard-luck innocent and Michael Lerner takes a nasty turn as the Warden. You'll recognize Hudson from "Ghostbusters I & II." He played Winston. Dillon was in the remake of "The Blob" and Lerner played the mayor of NYC in "Godzilla" with Matthew Broderick. There are other recognizable faces in the crowd as well.

If you're looking for a solid film with good production and a wonderful plot(though not very original), you're sure to enjoy "No Escape." Check it out and add it to your Ray Liotta library. He's an oft-overlooked actor who deserves better accolades.

IMDb
Amazon


Teaser


Island introduction




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