No Escape Review

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Instead of being taken to a psychiatrist ward, Ray Liotta is taken to a remote island where it's only inhabitants are other patients. Here he meets the various factions that have been formed, each with their own agenda. Luckily he is taken in by one of the more pacifistic tribes.


This is merely one of a run of pictures (see also Fortress, Escape From New York, Moon 44, Wedlock, Alien3) which dress up the familiar conventions of the prison movie with a few science fiction frills. Indeed, No Escape borrows a suspicious number of ideas from Terminal Island, an obscure 1973 cult film which was a lot better. Produced by Gale Anne Hurd and shot on attractive Aussie locations, this offers muscular, widescreen thrills, but is sorely lacking in any cranial tissue.

Liotta, a traumatised Special Forces hero, is transferred by sadistic warden Michael Lerner to Absalom, a remote island where psychos have been dumped to get on with killing each other. Showing his true action pic credentials, Liotta sees off brutal warlord Wilson and winds up in a self-help group-cum-Swiss Family Robinson stockade run by paternalistic Henriksen. There is some discussion of the philosophy of punishment and reformation, but these issues are swiftly dropped in favour of infantile excuses for shoot-'em-ups, torture and crossbow battles.

The cast is stocked with flabby British character actors (Don Henderson, Jack Shepherd) and American hulks (Ernie Hudson, Kevin Dillon), and the plot has holes big enough for a chain gang to escape through. Campbell, who has yet to transfer the qualities of his TV work (Edge Of Darkness) to the big screen (Criminal Law, Defenseless), gets the boys to run around well enough but continually trips over an ill-developed script. And even if it's too incident-filled to feel like a life sentence, this certainly doesn't give you time off for good behaviour.

Sadly this rather low-budgeted B-movie took itself rather too seriously and now we are left with a film with a which has plenty of holes in yet and few redeeming features bar a reliable performance from Liotta and a few good action sequences. But you've got to wonder what he was doing appearing in it in the first place.