Rated: R for violence and language. Reviewed by: Chris Release date: April 29, 1994 Released by: Savoy Pictures
The year is 2022 and a prison system has been set up that many theater goers, tired of the rising crime rate, would probably like to see in operation now.
Prisoners who don't conform to the strict rules at the steel, high-rise penitentiary are sent to a secret island, hundreds of miles off the coast of the U.S. The men are dropped from a helicopter and left to fend for themselves for the balance of their life sentence.
The island population is made up of two groups: the Outsiders, a bunch of murdering thugs who wear face paint and masks and kill one another for sport, and the Insiders, prisoners who live peaceably with one another within a fenced village for protection against the Outsiders.
The Insiders are headed by The Father (Lance Hendriksen), who is white-robed and quietly inspiring to his little clan who number about 100 men. The Outsiders, on the other hand, are headed by a long-haired, leather clad self-appointed leader (Stuart Wilson), who enjoys the periodic attacks that his men make on the Insider's village.
Ray Liotta plays John Robbins, a soldier imprisoned for killing his commanding officer. When he goes afoul of the prison's smarmy Warden (Michael Lerner), he's whisked off to the island for punishment.
The Outsiders capture him and put him through a series of competitions where he has to fight to the death. Robbins makes fast work disposing of his opponents and escapes to the Insiders' part of the island.
The last half of the film is devoted to violent battles between the two groups, and to the Insider's plan to build a boat that would avoid detection by the mainland's prison radar.
Liotta, lacking a mass of pumped-up muscles, is not your usual action hero. There's no snappy one-liners or funny asides for him. He's sullen and serious.
For a futuristic action film, No Escape is surprisingly unexciting and predictable.