No Escape (1994) Poster


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Underrated Prison Action
falkar15 December 2004
On the surface, 'No Escape' is just another generic action movie set in a prison environment. An island prison from which escape is impossible? An Alcatraz by any other name... Plus the 'two faction-one nice, one evil' has overtones of Lord of the Flies. While both of the above comments are applicable, the film rises above itself. With good performances from powerful actors such as Ray Liotta and Stuart Wilson, along with a sharp script, 'No Escape' is a hidden gem, and well worth seeking out. Final Score: 7.5/10
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Mad Max meets Fortress
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews28 January 2004
When I first sat down, to see this movie, I wasn't expecting much; In fact, I was preparing myself mentally for a total flop... but it really took me by surprise. It's actually quite interesting, and has some good action sequences. The plot is pretty interesting, and moves along very nicely, quickly moving on, constantly developing. The acting was convincing enough, there wasn't really any scenes that were terrible, even though a lot of the scenes and lines were very corny; it fit perfectly in with the movie, and as such wasn't out of place. It's pretty much a B-movie, but if you like(or just enjoy mildly) B-movies, you'll probably be at least reasonably entertained by it. It's reminiscent of movies like Fortress, but just a little better in that it's very unpredictable; no matter what you think is gonna happen, you'll be surprised again and again by what happens. It's pretty interesting all the way through, it has some good, 80's style action, corny B-movie lines, a B-movie feel throughout the movie... so, if you can watch it for free, either borrow it from a friend, or watch it on TV... if not, only watch it if you're into movies like Fortress. 6/10
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strange coincidence?
spman10129 March 2011
decent flick. Definitely better than i thought it would be. however there is one moment in the film that supremely creeped me out. There's a moment where the prison warden is reading the rap sheet of capt. Robbins (Ray Liotta), that includes some of his special forces history. He reads off saying something like "oh so you were in Libya Behngazi, in 2011?" Very creepy for a movie made in 94, given whats gone in in Libya, Behngazi and that its happened in 2011. Also the fact that like Capt. Robbins, in in the American special forces, recently 6 soldiers working for British special forces were captured and deported in Behngazi Libya.

That was the biggest WTF moment in the movie for me lol.

Overall though not a bad flick. Would have been disappointed if I dropped a few bucks on it in theatres, but i saw it cheaply in netflix and it was worth it. check it out!
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Very underrated Entertainment
liammurphy129 March 2004
Soldier Ray (Goodfellas) Liotta is sent to Prison for shooting one of his commanding officers in the year 2022- but it's no ordinary Prison, they send if to a deserted Island where bad ass criminals are taken and left alone to fend for themselves FOR EVER. When he arrives he realises there are two tribes one a violent and sadistic one known as the 'Outsiders' led by Marek (a great performance from British Actor Stuart Wilson and a Peaceful, loving and tight-knit community run by 'The Father' (a tailor made role for Lance Henriksen) who would live the rest of their lives in Peace and Harmony if it wasn't for Marek and his dirty,Ugly band of bad asses. Liotta needs to find his way off the Island which is 200 miles from the nearest coastline and is constantly watched by The Warden who will kill anyone who attempts to get off as well have having to fight with the good guys against the Outsiders who are becoming more and more fierce with each attack, This is a very well made Sci-fi actioner from Martin Campbell who has since made 007's Goldeneye (1995), The Mask of Zorro (1998) and Vertical Limit (2000) and is currently working on the Zorro Sequel due out Next Year. There are also plenty of faces to spot for British Viewers including Jack Shepherd (Yes! Wycliffe himself) who is suprisingly good the as the village mechanic who has tried for years to build a contraption to get them off the island, and The late Don Henderson who stars as the resident beer Maker.

Unfortunately the film bombed on both sides of the Atlantic taking a measly $15m in the states and a pathetic £500,000 here in the UK on it's original release 10 years ago but don't let that put you off it's very well acted with plenty of action and Drama.

My Rating:- **** out of *****
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A hidden gem of a B-movie
bowmanblue14 December 2014
'No Escape' is a B-movie. Fact. It has B-movie written all over it. And that's no bad thing. It never really tries to be anything else. It's about a futuristic world where prisoners are big business for corporations. Unless they don't work. Then they get shipped off to this out of the way island where they can kill each other as much as they like.

One such prisoner is Ray Liotta. He may be a convicted murderer, but he did it for just motives, therefore we can root for him. And he bands together with a load of equally supportable prisoners on the island, compared to the other lot – who are basically barbarians. Thus we have our movie – the 'good' (well, just) prisoners, fighting off the 'bad' prisoners on a little island paradise.

Our boy Ray's helped out by a variety of other B-movie actors. You'll recognise him from what's-it-called and that bloke out of Aliens, plus the Ghostbuster who joined last. Anyway, it doesn't matter. It's a fun film with plenty of action and rolls along nicely, helped no small part by the baddie. He's great fun – naturally psychotic, but great fun. In than annals of B-movie baddies, Stuart Wilson deserves a mention – sometimes camp, always bonkers and ready to slaughter anyone just to keep control of the psychos under him.

Despite its 'B-movie' status, it's actually a little longer than your average 'straight to DVD' flick. Yet it never seems to drag. Basically, if you like action, B-movies with a touch of sci-fi and want something to eat popcorn to, give this one a try. You can pick it up pretty cheaply or even stream it from many a website.

Plus, is it just me, or are all the computer terminals straight out of 'Aliens?' It's like No Escape is set in the same universe.
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Trashy but very good fun
wierzbowskisteedman17 September 2004
Ray Liotta plays Robbins, a criminal sent to an island prison where, due to lack of supervision, the inmates have formed two tribes. The hippy tribe is led by the great Lance Henriksen, while Stuart Wilson enjoys himself delivering cheesy one liners as the main bad guy.

Ray Liotta isn't exactly riding a post-Goodfellas high with this film, but its still very entertaining as trashy action fare. Liotta has a role that would probably be reserved for Arnold or Sly if this was a bigger production, but still makes a good job of playing a violent anti-hero. There are some great battle scenes and fun supporting performances.

Overall there isn't really much else to say about "No Escape", apart from you will be entertained if you enjoy action films that you can't take too seriously. If I'm objective I can't score it very highly but for entertainment value it gets 4/5.
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Better Than How It First Looks
ccthemovieman-14 December 2007
On the surface, this looks like a dumb movie which is overly violent and too seedy because it features nothing but hardened criminals plus the normal sadistic warden Hollywood always shows in all modern-day films. turns out the story isn't as sordid as it looks and the violence, although plentiful, is somehow not overdone. Also, the chief villain " Walter Marek" (Stuart Wilson) is a man with a good sense of humor. The comedic relief he brings is a real plus to the story. By the way, Wilson doesn't look like Mel Gibson but his voice sure sounds similar.

"No Escape" is strictly an action movie with an all-male cast that has a grim atmosphere of convicts fighting it out on an inescapable island in the year 2022.

Profanity isn't as much as you'd except in a tough film like this and - in a real oddity - Lance Henriksen is the nicest guy in the movie! He never utters a bad or angry word. If you know the characters Henriksen usually plays, you know this is a rarity. Ray Liotta, Michael Lerner and Ernie Hudson also star, so it's a decent cast.

You could do a lot worse looking for two hours of "escapist" fare.
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A forgotten movie
bsinc1 February 2002
I totally agree with the comment given by Slurpee 7. I first saw it as a young teen and thought it was OK, but every time I saw it afterwards it just kept getting better and better. I don't know why. The story is very simple, but Campbell's movies just make you forget about that(e.g. Vertical limit- with a rather stupid story). This is the first movie I ever saw Ray Liotta and the man just has such powerful and "vicious" eyes.Great for the part. And the villain(excellently portrayed by Wilson), referring to his "habitat" as a first class hotel and making constant jokes - gotta love it. A movie about survival, and what a man is actually prepared to do for it. 9/10
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Big surprise .... An action movie that exceeds expectations .....
merklekranz19 December 2009
Take some pretty good actors, Ray Liotta, Stuart Wilson, Lance Henrekson, Michael Lerner, among others, and put them in an exciting no escape prison situation. That along with a script that keeps the high level of excitement going for a full 118 minutes, and you have a winning combination. Special mention must be made of the excellent Australian location, and the great sets and costumes. Ray Liotta is thrown into the middle of two warring factions, while his only objective is to escape from Michael Lerner's futuristic island prison. Zero women, zero romantic distractions, "No Escape" is 100% action, and exceeds expectations. - MERK
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Very good sci-fi adventure movie
PeterRoeder9 October 2004
This is not a perfect movie but I'd rate it 8/10. It is a very good sci-fi adventure movie which is different from other movies at the time (1994). It has the look and feel of a Planet of the Apes - at times it is a bit silly and too violent/sadistic but it usually makes sense. The main character is someone who would usually be played by Van Damme. Anyway, there is a freshness and an excitement in this movie which is really all the genre needs. If only there were more movies of this type. I guess, it's like this typical pulp-sci-fi thriller. The effects are not very impressive but it has a kind of post-80s look to it. This was before CGI became normal. I think this movie is going to prove especially satisfying to fans of adventure movies such as "Conan" and to sci-fi fans who likes movies such as "Planet of the Apes". Of course, it is also a prison-break movie, however, I don't think that is what the movie is really about.
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Terrific fun
NateWatchesCoolMovies18 July 2016
No Escape is the type of flick that Stallone or Schwarzenegger would have headlined, had it been given a higher budget and major studios presence. It's almost better that it didn't, because instead we got a scrappy little post apocalyptic actioner starring a cheeky, roughneck Ray Liotta, who you just can never say no to when he shows up. He plays J.T. Robbins here, an army official who's been disgraced and stripped of his title following an incident involving a superior officer. He's being shipped off to Absolon, a remote island that's been fashioned into a massive prison for convicts who are never to be released. Two groups of prisoners inhabit Absolon: a piratical group of violent miscreants led by flamboyant Walter Marek (Stuart Wilson commands attention with his uproariously weird performance), and a peaceful tribe of hut dwellers, presided over by father (Lance Henriksen). Robbins wants only to escape, a prospect that has been fervently shot down in his face by Absolon's overbearing Warden (Michael Lerner). Using his military cunning and inherent brute force, he tries to start a war between the two factions and raise enough of a commotion to make a break for it. What he doesn't count on is his fondness for the people within Father's group, and his eventual need to get some of the, out as well. It's pure aged mid 90's dystopian action cheese, and a delight for any lovers of the gourmet dish. Liotta is strong, silent and nasty when provoked, a great antihero. Henriksen is unusually compassionate and reserved, and Wilson struts around without any inhibitions, wearing his best grade school play face chomping scenery like a wildebeest. Watch for work from Kevin Dillon, Ian McNeice and Ernie Hudson as well. A lighthearted romp with its heart in the right place and the competence to back it up.
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Mad Max-imum Security
trikespotter25 August 2014
If you took the outline plot and characters of 'The Road Warrior', situated them on the penal colony as portrayed in 'Papillon', and then filmed it in the vein of John McTiernan's 'Predator' then you basically get this as an end result. And you know what...? It bloody works!

I first saw this film when it was released on a straight-to-video premise way back in 1994 as a Sunday night filler, and to be honest I couldn't remember much about it, except that it wasn't that bad, but nor was it memorable.

Twenty years on, I managed to grab a copy of it again, and finally forced myself to sit through what I anticipated to be an excruciatingly painful event, as I'm just not a great fan of Ray Liotta or Kevin Dillon to say the least, and what with time being so cruel and all, I expected the cheesiest of cheese. How wrong I was! This gem appears to have magically grown better with time!

So yeah it's a bit corny in parts, and the overall plot only SEEMS to be kinda predictable, but there's many an unexpected twist and turn to keep the story moving at an extremely entertaining pace, with some fantastic camera work reminiscent of 'Predator', and some great one-liners to boot.

Knowing that this was pretty much a mash-up of previous classic movies didn't leave a sour taste at all, and I'd watch it again in an instant. Bloody good entertainment, surprisingly minimal on the profanities, (I think I heard only one quickly blurted F-word expletive from Marek throughout), and highly recommended for those 80's/90's action genre buffs.

A generous and solid 8/10 for overall value and stamina.
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solid B movie action flick
Jakethemuss25 August 2007
I've seen this film many times over the years, as it has great re watch value. It is actually surprisingly good for a reasonably unheard of movie, and would be fair to say this is one of those gems your lucky to find.

John Robbins (Liotta) is a decorated marine sent to a ultra strict maximum security prison for killing his superior officer. He does not stay there for long however, as he is banished to 'Absolum' a monitored island in a guarded stretch of water. Here, prisoners are no longer really prisoners, as there are no rules, no bars, no guards, just you and them. By them I mean "the outsiders", a bunch of savages desperately struggling for survival under the leadership of the vicious dread-locked Walter Marrik (Wilson).

Then there are "the insiders", a society of former and somewhat rehabilitated inmates who live a peaceful and structured life, in a makeshift but well guarded fortress. They live under rules and respect each other, unlike the feral outsiders who have no code of honour.

Classic lines, likable characters and solid action make this a film in its own right. The film boasts many good combat/battle scenes, and the gripping feel of the film sets in early and stays till the end.
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Actually This Is Kind Of Fun
no-skyline12 August 2005
Ray Liota stars in this sci-fi actioner, sent to an in-escapable island prison he bands together with a group of fellow inmates to fight off a band of savages. Stuart Wilson plays Marek the psycho leader of the savages and his over the top portrayal fits in with the late night b-movie feel. Also appearing are a whole host of British character actors along with Lance Henrickson and Ernie Hudson who seem to make a living off this type of direct to video fare.

If your not into sci-fi or action you may as well leave now, this is one of those films that regular appears late at night on the movie channel and is worth watching because it's a fun no brainer. The best way to describe it is a cross of Mad Max and Fortress the Christopher Lambert Sci-Fi effort. This film is superior to Fortress but falls way short of Mad Max.

Liota is pretty good but this is no where near his quality of performance in Goodfella's and to be honest it doesn't need to be as this is b-movie action fun not Scorsese. He drives the plot along and carries the action scenes off well. Lance Henrikson is reliable as ever and adds to his impressive list of fantasy/sci-fi appearances, Ernie Hudson is OK but will never escape from the isn't that the fourth guy in ghostbusters who didn't have much to do? One for the late night sci-fi / b-movie fans 6/10
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What a great story with great character's Ray Liota is a bad mofo
bienkow782 June 2019
Yes yes with s side of yes survival surveillance and surprising... great live action special effects make it believable
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A Throw-Back
LeonLouisRicci12 February 2013
This is a semi-expensive Film with a B-Movie feel and it is better for it. The slickness is not done in an in your face manner as it just unfolds unpretentiously and is beautiful to behold. The costumes are also quite "attractive" and proudly display their "freak flags" high.

The story is somewhat simple and yet some of the complexities and Philosophy about corporate prisons and civilized society are lost in the action and some less than adequate script involvement. But not enough to keep this from being enjoyable escapism.

There are some well done, violent battles and some witticisms that are quite amusing. The villain is venomous and quite the psychopathic comedian. In all, this is quite entertaining stuff that never pretends to be more than it is. A kind of throw-back to Matinée fare of a by-gone era.
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Goodfella. Badfella.
MovieAddict201630 March 2004
Decent enough action flick about a futuristic island penal colony that no one has ever escaped - enter murderer Robbins (Ray Liotta) who manages to break all the rules and band together with a group of fellow escapees (Kevin Dillon and Lance Henriksen). Together they try to leave the island but find themselves faced with no escape, hence the title of the film.

Ray Liotta ("Goodfellas") is quite good in the action hero role - one that might usually be reserved for a Schwarzenegger or Stallone. But the real flaw of the film lies in the long sequences in between the good escape sequences and action sets - such as all the extremely unbelievable, plot-driven, corny dialogue.

Dillon (Bunny from "Platoon" and Matt's brother) is OK but his character isn't quite as "cool" as the filmmakers think he is. Henriksen ("Aliens") is good as usual but really the film comes down to Liotta's performance. It drives the movie forward but I can't really say it's anything tremendously special.

3/5 stars.

  • John Ulmer
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" Don't Ever Turn Your Back On Me Again "
thinker169117 October 2008
With the future of basic employment being harness to either robotics or Private businesses, it's little wonder we have a movie which purports to predict what prisons are going to look like in the future. This futuristic film leaves little doubt that if a private warden takes the helm of one of these prisons, things are apt to get out of hand. From an audiences' perspective, we can expect a lot from whomever Hollywood chooses as their main star. In this offering, we have impressive Ray Liotta as Capt. J.T. Robbins, a disgraced Special Forces soldier, who's been court martialed and sent to prison for the murder of his commanding officer. However, the Warden of the prison (Michael Lerner, who is almost believably sadistic) decides to ratchet up his punishment by sending him to ' Absolom' a maximum island prison where life is shortened by the extreme brutality allowed. Here Robbins, meets Walter Marek, a brutal prisoner who leads his 'outsiders' with savage force and who tries to force Robbins to submit to his authority which leads to their jungle confrontation. Robbins also meets 'The Father' (Lance Henriksen) the leader of other convicts living apart in a special compound and who've accepted their punishment, but wish to do their time in peace and companionship. Ernie Hudson plays Hawkins, the security officer for their compound. The action/drama is slow to build, but explodes when it does. Plenty of mayhem follows and through some of the sub-plots a forceful and violent movie appears. A good film for Liotta and Hadson and it's ending is surprisingly unexpected. ****
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This was actually a fairly decent movie
MovieAlien18 December 2000
Very similiar plot structure as "The Shawshank Redemption". Only difference here is that it's far into the future, the protagonist did commit the crime, and he's an ex-soldier, not a banker.

The new society, on an island thousands of miles away, is inhabited by two groups of people, one a barbaric cult run by a sadist(Stuart Wilson, good as always, hilarious as the villain) and a peaceful society of people (run by Lance Henrikson, also good) who just want to live their lives in harmony. As the two groups butt heads, the main character (played by Ray Liotta, with better acting here than his usual films) just wants to get the heck out of there and battle the fascist society that got him in.

I don't dig the bad reviews. Personally I thought this was very well done. Some bad lines here and there, but not enough to distract attention from the plot. (Which was far superior compared to "Escape from New York")
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Unfairly disparaged
liodavix11 February 2019
Film quite entertaining and underrated.

The movie with a luxury cast: Ray Liotta, which is strange, because not to say, to see in a role of ¨hero or rather antihero action, far from his typical roles of villain or gangster, a Stuart Wilson really Plétorico and genial as ¨malo of the film¨, Lance Henriksen, in another atypical role of this actor, more associated with the roles of villain, Ernie Hudson, the eternal ¨ fourth ghost hunter, and Ian Mcneice, the fat good-hearted Ace Ventura: Operation Africa. And finally the well-known director Martin Campbell at the controls of the project.

The film is quite reminiscent of Infernal Fortress by Cris Lambert. but set in a savage island, and with a more brutal prota, that nothing else to begin the movie, shoots at point blank to a superior officer during a military parade. The truth is that initially the character of Liotta scares how crazy and dangerous it seems to be.

The Island is divided into two classes of prisoners. Some good, civilized and ecologists, and other savages, savants and more fun than others, to deceive us. The appearance of these reminds the bad guys of Waterwold and Mad Max.

The setting is well achieved, Liotta struggles in a role alien to him, Wilson gets out, and the action scenes are made with correctness.

The only thing is that they should have made the story something more violent and wild, in the case of an Island Only for Men, there would have to be a very strong homosexual tension, and maybe the movie is a long story in the background It is quite simple.

I said, good and digestible movie, but that lacked something more daring and bad milk, to be more shocking, because sometimes history sins of lack of emotion and tension, but still it is quite good and worthy of a higher score than what you currently have.

And it's true, there is not a woman in the whole movie, a record.
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A Great Action Film
Slurpee76 April 1999
As a fan of action and sci-fi films, I have to say No Escape features everything I expect from this genre of films. It is one of my top ten favorite films of all time, and is the film that introduced me to Ray Liotta. Why do I love this film? Great acting, great action sequences, an interesting (and unique) plot, and great scenery. A perfect film for the movie viewer who loves action and is an escapist. The critics found weaknesses in this film, but they have no effect on the viewer's enjoyment of the film.
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The condemned on a corporate prison island
yavoyavo29 September 2019
A story of redemption and male bonding, the contrast between two societies, a corporate gang tyranny and a patriarchy led by father figure.

This is a film that could never be made today, not just because it doesn't feature women, but because the protagonist is allowed to suffer, and repeatedly lose. A skilled but not an arbitrarily powerful superman, and his opponents are both competent and ruthless.

The fortress siege scenes are thought out, its just interesting to see how with much more resources, Game of Thrones just pales in comparison when back then they did more with so much less.
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This is a good Sci-Fi Movie
jimmyolsenblues29 March 2005
I miss really good SciFi, Classic Trek, Original Star Wars, I-Robot kind of movies. This came out in 1994, and you know what I saw it in a hotel. Its not bad at all , for me I gave it a 10 , I like all SciFi. This movie has a theme of Redemtion. This movie is good versus evil. Purity versus Sin, Corny you say?? Well Call me Corny Charlie. I love stuff like this, comments like "I saw a lot of good men die defending this place". Its a part war movie. Its like Mosquito Coast with a great well built village that must be sacrificed. I love Lance he is a great B movie scifi guy. You got Ray Liotta who looks like a psycho always playing a wired xmarine type. Perfect Type casting. So trust me order Italian or Chinese on a rainy cold day and you will like this movie, because "You must have fought for something once."
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My kind of movie.
Epona-221 June 1999
"No Escape" was a great movie. Although parts of it did remind me a lot of "The Island of Dr. Moreau". It's a bad comparison but it is unfortunately true. I'm a big fan of the tragic hero type movie. And the whole struggle to overcome ones past (or ones future for that matter). And this movie fits right in there. Another factor that has always been popular with me is the struggle to overcome an "evil" oppressor, which is quite evident in this film.
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And then big Poppa Bear ripped off the little kid's arm!
Coventry21 September 2008
Ah, the glorious early nineties! Back when big stars were still appearing in incredibly violent action movies and when over-anxious kids like myself had to secretly sneak into cinemas because you weren't allowed to see these movies under the age of 16. "Escape from Absolom" is a childhood favorite of mine, so my views and opinions may be a bit biased, but still I think they don't make action flicks like this one anymore nowadays. The script may perhaps contain a few gigantic holes and completely illogic twists, but at least it's continuously fast-paced, politically incorrect and spectacular. The year's 2022 and prisons have turned into private companies without government interference. Absolom is the name of a prison colony island where the sadistic warden (Michael Lerner) plays off the Outsiders against the Insiders. The former are an unorganized bunch of savages wearing masks and hunting with primitive weapons, led by the relentless but charismatic Walter Marek. The Insiders, however, attempted to found a peaceful community where they grow crops and seek for moral redemption. The newly arrived and military trained prisoner Robbins would make a great asset for the Insiders, since he's the only one to have ever escaped from the Outsiders, but he's stubborn and anti-social and solely intends to get off the island alone. The concept of "Escape from Absolom" is very reminiscent to copious other (futuristic) prison movies, like "Fortress", "Papillon", "Blood Camp Thatcher", "Escape from NY" …, but this one definitely benefices from good production values, staggering filming locations, a devoted cast and the professional direction of Martin Campbell. The battle sequences as well as the violent ordeals Robbins meets in the Outsiders' camp are robust and grisly, including a lot of decapitations and swashbuckling. The high tempo and adrenalin-level is only occasionally overshadowed by overly sentimental biographies and redundant flashbacks. Obviously in a prison colony, everybody has a story to tell about why he ended up there and the film tells too many of them. Ray Liotta's character is an interesting anti-hero, since he remains unreliable and somewhat aloof. The most fascinating character is undoubtedly Walter Merak. He's an insane and power-obsessed dictator with menacing facial expressions and a deranged sense of humor. Merak also narrates R-rated versions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and eliminates the members of his own "parliament" to gain even more power. It's a stupendous performance from Stuart Wilson; an actor whose other works I'm not really familiar with. The always reliable Lance Henriksen, Ernie Hudson, Kevin J. O'Connor and Ian McNeice deliver awesome roles in the supportive cast. Granted, the movie is far from flawless and the sudden ending is a bit stupid and implausible, but "Escape from Absolom" nevertheless remains one of the highlights of early 90's Sci-Fi/action cinema.
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