Please note – This film has also been known as “No Escape” or “Escape From Absolom” in selected Countries.
Set in the year 2022 (so a couple of years from now) our film follows former Captain J.T Robbins (Ray Liotta) is sentenced to prison. Robbins gets sentenced for assassinating his commanding officer (his reason for committing the crime are unknown until the film goes on). While in prison, Robbins gets pushed in the wrong direction, which causes the prison warden to send Robbins somewhere far worse. Robbins transferred out via a helicopter to an unknown island known as “Absolom”.
You see, Absolom isn’t just another prison. It’s an island where the most dangerous criminals are free to roam around, and only the strongest men survive. Can Robbins stay alive and more importantly can Robbins find a way to escape Absolom and be free once and for all?
To my surprise, this film was directed by Martin Campbell, who would later conduct such favourite movies such as James Bond Goldeneye and Casino Royale.
Robbins, as a leading character, is enjoyable and it’s a surprising performance from actor Ray Liotta. Based on the films I’ve ever seen of Ray Liotta in, is usually playing a villain or a terrible person. Here, I enjoyed seeing him be the leading hero with many skills that are believable throughout the film. He’s dangerous and a leader, but he’s also mysterious. The film does a great job at setting up his character and has the audience members questioning why he killed his Commanding officer at the beginning of the film. Is he a good guy, or does he deserve to be in prison? Thankfully our film is gracious enough to reveal answers to all its questions.
Ray Liotta isn’t the only one with an excellent performance here. I also enjoyed the film’s villain, Marek (Stuart Wilson). Marek is the leader of a dangerous group known as “The Outsiders” and orders around the most savage criminals on Absolom. It’s evident that the actor enjoyed playing this role and he also manages to bring some fun light humour to the film. It’s never over the top- it’s just enough. It’s also fun to see Marek and Robbins interact with one another as the film progresses to a showdown. Other than our hero and villain, some of the film’s side characters play a weaker role in the film’s story. One such character in particular is the scrape collector. While I understand side characters are needed, sometimes they are just given too much screen time only to repeat the same actions or material over and over.
While watching this film, I found myself appreciating the sets as well as the general scenery and gorgeous background shots. After the movie, I did some research, and according to IMDB, the location for filming was North Queensland, Australia (Awesome!).
Overall, this is an enjoyable blast from the 90s. Escape From Absolom brings some new and some similar things to the screen. It’s also exciting to see actor Ray Liotta take on a different role, such as a leading action hero. The film’s audio track is a solid compliment. In the end, I can’t deny that this is a fun flick from the 90s despite some issues I have with the film.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden