May 2, 1994 -- The preview for ``No Escape'' looks like one of those standard apocalyptic chase-through-the-dreary-future type thrillers. You know, junk like ``Cyborg,'' ``Gymkata'' and ``Escape 2000,'' but it is better than those.
This film is more like ``Escape From New York'' in a more primitive setting. It is about a convict sent to a prison from which there can be no escape. Whoops, I gave away the whole film.
The anti-hero, Robbins, convincingly played by Ray Liotta, must face impossible obstacles in his quest to flee the primitive island prison where he is sent. It is a place where the lunatics are in charge of the asylum. He must fight his way through killers and traps and natural barriers.
The action is convincing enough and there are some interesting characters, but we really have seen all of this before. My only question is, what is Ray Liotta doing in this movie? He's usually found in far more interesting movies such as ``GoodFellas'' and ``Article 99.''
It is hard to understand why Liotta would stoop to such an undemanding role, more suited to the likes of Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal.
``Father,'' played by Lance Henriksen (he played the cyborg in ``Aliens'') is one of those interesting characters. He has managed to set up a semi-civilized area on the prison island. Henriksen is a pretty good actor. It would be nice to see him in a better film in a role he could really sink his teeth into. Speaking of teeth, he once played a vampire in ``Near Dark.''
Another actor who turns in a good performance is Ernie Hudson as Hawkins, chief of security for the civilized islanders. Hudson doesn't get many film opportunities. He is best known as the black Ghostbuster in ``Ghostbusters.''
The film is directed by Martin Campbell and produced by Gale Anne Hurd. Hurd has produced some great action films, such as ``Aliens'' and ``The Abyss.'' This film certainly benefits from her influence. It delivers no surprises, but the suspense and the action are maintained well enough keep you from thinking about the no-brain plot. It is, as they say, a good popcorn movie. It rates a C+.
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