Not In the World

Ray Liotta plays a military rebel in No Escape, imprisoned on an isolated island after shooting his commanding officer. Liotta’s J.T. Robbins carries deep, haunting PTSD into a mismatched, even hilariously funny action flick that latches onto post-Vietnam anxieties in a direct way.

No Escape set itself in 2022. Prisons went for-profit in this future, and that’s not inherently untrue in the real 2022, albeit jazzed up for the screens with high-tech vehicles and architecture. Dusty dystopian sights are aplenty. The year serves as window dressing – No Escape takes place primarily on an island that’s from any year producers wanted. That makes the Vietnam connection a stronger one, although 1994 was a late release for a revisionist sub-genre that peaked in the ‘80s.

Liotta carries his anti-authority, counter-culture persona into No Escape forcefully

Liotta carries his anti-authority, counter-culture persona into No Escape forcefully, always lashing out and angry. He’s a ready-made ‘90s hero, but Stuart Wilson steals this one as the villain Marek, leader of a rogue colony, and snappy with his comical retorts. Few actors have looked like they were having more fun on-screen than Wilson who delights in the mania. His opportunities are many.

Layered with an anti-prison, anti-corporate agenda, No Escape used Marek for his madness. As a character doomed to rot on this island, to the delight of the shareholders, his uncaring, unfeeling sarcasm is logical, plus entertaining. He’s the energy No Escape needs outside of its action, keeping the dialog breezy as the oppressive regime and theme weigh heavily on this story.

It’s not an original idea. TV movies, novels, and theatrical features all bring into question No Escape’s convenient similarities. But, No Escape enjoys blasting the privatized prison system, with Micheal Lerner sniveling as the crude owner, hoping the prisoners wipe themselves out. Undoubtedly, their deaths means more profit – less mouths to feed. Seeing the men (and only men; no woman appear anywhere in No Escape) readily turn on one another brings a small chill to this dreary-looking effort.

Video

Debuting on Blu-ray, No Escape looks like a recent scan from great, if dusty elements. While contrast lacks energy early on, that matches the murky prison interiors. This changes later, although black levels never quite reach their deepest levels. Dimensionality doesn’t find its groove.

However, this sharp, well resolved film stock produces detail galore. Facial definition doesn’t stray far from its early high point. Forests/jungles resolve the tall grasses, leaves, and brush in the frame. While grain looks a little rugged, the filmic quality holds together, never betraying the source.

Diluted, almost monochrome color saturation keeps the palette dry. No bright greenery here – slightly grayed primaries, pale flesh tones, and minimal zest means No Escape holds little punch visually.

Audio

The case artwork lists Dolby Digital. That’s a mistake, thankfully. No Escape employs DTS-HD for its 5.1 mix, although it’s hardly an exciting mix. Bass lacks, murky and hollow, although there’s a rumble where needed. The worst happens during the biggest attacks, explosions from helicopter missiles lacking all depth. Oddly, it sounds like a compressed Dolby Digital track.

Positional splits make fair use of the rears, especially as action scenes involve large crowds. Yelling and footsteps feature in the surrounds, adding directionality to a front-focused track. Motion is utilized only when absolutely necessary, making the soundstage restrictively flat.

Extras

Unearthed/MVD bring a trio of new interviews to No Escape, producer Gale Anne Hurd first (17:08), director Martin Campbell second (13:35) and co-writer Joel Gross up third (9:46). A general vintage making of (28-minutes, and using the foreign title, Escape from Absolom), old EPK, alternate opening, and promo materials cap this one off.

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No Escape
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

A familiar tale told with a unique PTSD angle, No Escape’s hopelessness and occasional dark humor give it a small spark.

Overall
3
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User Review
3.33 (3 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 47 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: