No Escape (1994 film)
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No Escape, released in some countries as Escape from Absolom, is a 1994 American action/science fiction film directed by Martin Campbell and starring Ray Liotta, Lance Henriksen, Stuart Wilson, Kevin Dillon and Ernie Hudson. It was based on the 1987 novel The Penal Colony, by Richard Herley.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Martin Campbell|
Gale Anne Hurd
The Penal Colony|
by Richard Herley
|Edited by||Terry Rawlings|
|Distributed by||Savoy Pictures|
|Box office||$15.3 million|
In the year 2022, the penal system is run by corporations, with prisoners seen as assets. Highly-trained ex-Marine John Robbins is imprisoned for life for murdering his commanding officer after being ordered to kill innocent civilians in Benghazi (Libya); having escaped from two Level 5 maximum security prisons, he is sent to a Level 6 facility. A fellow prisoner tells him about "Absolom", an island where they send the worst prisoners and is feared more than the prison. The Warden, after being held at gunpoint by Robbins, is convinced that he is a threat and exiles him to the island.
On the island, Robbins is captured by a group of prisoners known as the 'Outsiders', led by a sociopath named Walter Marek and whose only rule is The Law of the Jungle. The abandoned island resort -complete with dilapidated houses and a swimming pool- is where the Outsiders have established a base. Marek forces Robbins to fight one of his men for amusement and is impressed when Robbins kills his opponent in seconds. He offers him a position in his gang; instead, Robbins knocks Marek into the pool, steals his rocket launcher, and flees the Outsider's camp. He is pursued through the jungle and cornered at the edge of a high cliff before being shot in the neck by blowgun darts. After falling into the river below, he is retrieved by another prisoner group called the 'Insiders'.
Led by a terminally-ill doctor called the 'Father', the Insiders established a cooperative autonomous community with laws as opposed to the tyranny of the Outsiders. Robbins meets Father, King -the new-arrival helper- and befriends Casey, a naive young man given a life sentence for taking part in a kidnapping gone wrong. Robbins learns that the Insiders are heavily outnumbered (over 6-to-1) by the Outsiders and that he is the only person to have ever escaped from Marek's camp. The weapon he stole is appropriated for the good of the community.
After helping repel an attack by the Outsiders, Father notes Robbins' abilities and asks him to join them. He refuses, saying he wants to leave Absolom; Father takes Robbins to the shore, explaining that they are 200 miles from the mainland, with gunships 50 miles off the coast, and infrared satellite technology above, mainly to detect thermal activity such as large fires or explosions.
The Insiders have secretly built a scan-proof boat and launch it to tell the outside world about Absolom. However, the boat is destroyed by attack helicopters, causing Father to believe there is an informer among them.
Robbins learns about a new boat and demands a seat, still determined to escape. After learning that the engine needs a distributor -a part Robbins saw while in Marek's camp- he offers to retrieve it in exchange for getting on the boat; the Insiders agree. Casey follows Robbins, who infiltrates the Outsiders' camp and gets the engine part, but they are captured by the Outsiders. Robbins is forced to fight Casey to the death; knowing they won't both escape, Casey impales himself on Robbins' weapon. Robbins is taken to be executed but escapes again with the help of an Insider spy, infuriating Marek.
Knowing Marek will attack, and over stern objection, Robbins convinces the Insiders to abandon their camp, but not before lacing it with booby traps. He stays behind to fire the stolen rocket launcher, igniting an incendiary bomb, killing most of the Outsiders and triggering the satellites, causing the Warden to intervene. Marek attacks Robbins, but Father defends him, dying in the process. Robbins kills Marek, before finding the new boat incinerated and the engineer stabbed to death. After discovering King's necklace in the engineer's hand, Robbins confronts King and forces him to give new coordinates to the Warden for where to land his helicopter on the island. Robbins hijacks the helicopter, throwing the Warden out the door and vowing to spread the truth about the island so the prisoners will be released. King and the Warden are left behind as unseen Outsiders close in on them.
- Ray Liotta as John Robbins
- Lance Henriksen as The Father
- Stuart Wilson as Marek
- Kevin Dillon as Casey
- Kevin J. O'Connor as Stephano
- Don Henderson as Killian
- Ian McNeice as King
- Jack Shepherd as Dysart
- Michael Lerner as Warden
- Ernie Hudson as Hawkins
- Russell Kiefel as Iceman
- Brian M. Logan as Scab
- Cheuk-Fai Chan as Skull
- David Wenham as Hotel Guard
- David Argue as the Cellmate
No Escape received mixed reviews from critics. It holds a rating of 50% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 16 reviews.