Owen Wilson isn’t exactly known for his serious acting. He’s run the gamut of comedy from the deadpan, bittersweet humor of Wes Anderson movies like The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel to all-out studio comedies like The Wedding Crashers and Zoolander, but he hasn’t starred in a straight-up action movie since Behind Enemy Lines.
That’s about to change as Wilson takes the lead in No Escape, a guy-trying-to-save-his-family action movie from Quarantine director John Erick Dowdle. The first trailer for No Escape has just been released, and it’s really worth watching just for the underlying awkwardness of both the premise and the tone of it.
Here’s the story: Wilson plays Jack Dwyer, a man who moves his family out to Asia (Pierce Brosnan’s character literally says “Welcome to Asia” in the trailer, as though he’s not quite sure which country they’re in), only to find his plans for a new life disrupted when a violent coup breaks out and the insurgents decide to track down any foreigners and eliminate them. The only hope for survival is the American embassy, and Jack decides to do whatever it takes to get there.
The trailer is framed exactly like a zombie movie, complete with a strong horror vibe… only instead of zombies, Jack and his family are trying to escape from a horde of… Asian people. Look, we’re not saying this trailer is xenophobic, but it’s not not xenophobic.
No Escape is actually set in Thailand and appears to be based on the real life events of political unrest that have taken place over the past century, which have included several coups d’etat. “Will the white Americans survive?” is probably not the best plot hook upon which to hang a depiction of these events, but perhaps No Escape is more sensitive and nuanced than its trailer gives it credit for.
No Escape arrives in theaters on September 2nd, 2015.