What a weird Thursday, planned on walking over to the Runway for happy hour and dinner but Jefferson was closed down. I couldn't figure out what was happening, Google had nothing then Twitter told me that there was a bomb threat at the Whole Foods! Mind you, I live in the heart of the Silicon Beach area where many a tech giant has planted stakes like IMAX, Konami, YouTube, Belkin, etc but in the last months there's been a shooting next door, human feces outside my building and now this. Apparently it was a mysterious black gym bag with an electric meter sitting in the parking structure. It was exploded with C4 but ended up not being a bomb, I'm guessing it was forgotten equipment from one of the construction crew...
With all showtimes canceled at the Cinemark Playa Vista, we headed to Culver City for some Happy Hour action at Rush Street before taking in No Escape at the Arclight. After a couple of blackberry and bourbon dranks, it was time to check out Owen Wilson in his first action-centric role since 2001's Behind Enemy Lines. The trailers accentuated one ridiculous scene where Wilson's on the run father throws his young daughters through the air from one roof to another in slow motion. Instead of being a derivative Taken knock off and trying to turn Wilson into an action hero, No Escape proved to be a solid thriller with some intense and harrowing moments along with a memorable performance from former James Bond Pierce Brosnan.
Shot in Thailand, No Escape finds out of work engineer Jack Dwyer (Wilson), wife Annie (Lake Bell) and their two daughters beginning anew in an I believe unnamed Asian country where Jack has been brought in to work on a local water project. In a new world where they don't speak the language, know the customs and unable to read the signs, they're befriended by the charming yet smarmy Hammond (Pierce Brosnan). All staying at the same posh hotel in town, things go bad real fast when a local coup sees a rebellion killing the local monarch and Americans are targeted for termination due to their intruding and political enslaving agenda. Jack and family go on the run, seeking safety and shelter; hiding at the American Embassy, in office buildings and on the streets. With lives on the line, Jack protects his family as best he can and resorts to brutal violence to do so. Hammond and his Kenny Rogers loving buddy (Sahajak Boonthanakit) turn out to be former military types lapping up women and booze and help Jack's family form a plan to reach Vietnam where they can be granted asylum.
With many kids back in school, the summer cinema season winds down as No Escape looks to gross a middling $12 million through the weekend while Zac Efron's EDM coming of age story We Are Your Friends got trounced in Thursday night previews by faith flick War Room. Written, produced and directed by brothers John and Drew Dowdle, No Escape is pretty raw and brutal while keeping tensions high throughout for the most part. Slow motion is a little overdone and the scene with the kid throwing elicited a laugh from me as it was ridiculous yet terrifying at the same time. It reminded me of John Wick in a sense as both had some hardcore R rated violence yet aimed to provide some heart via a dead spouses dog and in this case, a family trying to survive. No Escape isn't nearly as moody or stylish as Wick though. The locals aren't made out to be complete savages a la Rambo's Burmese soldiers and the ex-pats are firmly blamed for the current conditions. Wilson and Bell are excellent as the struggling parents who are forced to turn to violence with the film not trying to turn Wilson into a Jason Bourne style action star like From Paris With Love, The Gunman or Edge of Darkness tried to do in the Taken's wake. Brosnan is a highlight as the crude yet cool and mysterious, "something like that" English Intelligence guy who knows the score and how to shoot.