This terrible Owen Wilson action drama was banned in Cambodia
(Credit: Netflix)

Film News

This terrible Owen Wilson action drama was banned in Cambodia

The new top ten films chart on Netflix this week has thrown in a controversial film into the mix. The film starring Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan may be a critically panned action dud, but its central claim to fame is that it got banned in Cambodia.

Directed by John Erick Dowdle, No Escape was shot in the northern cities of Thailand, Chiang Mai and Lampang. However, in order to avoid painting Thailand in a negative light, the film did something bizarre. They changed the text on all visible signage to Cambodia’s Khmer script and, for some reason, printed everything upside down. This is what earned the film a ban in Cambodia. However, the subject matter of the film itself is bordering on racist, if not entirely so. 

The film stars Owen Wilson as Jack Dwyer, a businessman who relocates his family to a seemingly idyllic, unnamed Southeast Asian country. However, their lives take a turn when the country plunges into turmoil following a coup d’état. The local revolt not only wants to overthrow a pro-America government in this land of unknown Asian chaos, but the uprisings also end up butchering a few American tourists during the riots.

As Richard S. Ehrlich wrote for CNN, there is another detail in the film that ends up pointing to Cambodia, diverting attention from Thailand, where the film was shot. He explained, “Only one Southeast Asian country – Vietnam – is mentioned by name and is repeatedly hailed as a much safer nation. The escaping Americans try to row a boat ‘to Vietnam.’ They row under a huge sign that reads ‘Vietnam’ on a bridge that forms an international border.”

A quick look at a map will clear up any confusion that Thailand does not border Vietnam, but Cambodia does.

Despite its senseless stupidity, No Escape, which also happens to be a terribly hokey and formulaic action flick, has found a new audience on Netflix. It has climbed the ranks to secure the fifth spot on the streaming platform’s top ten list of films in the UK between March 25th and 31st. 

While we do not yuck anyone’s yum when it comes to cinematic escapades, especially on Netflix, we suggest you give this one a miss. These essential action series may be better options.