In the year 2022, Special Forces solider, Captain Robbins, is court martialed for putting a bullet in the head of his commanding officer. After escaping two maximum security prisons and a record of rebellious activity, a corrupt and power hungry warden of the Lactivus prison ships Robbins off to an off shore island called Absolom, where prisoners can roam free with no chance of escape due to 24/7 surveillance by Satellite and rocket launcher armed helicopter gunships surrounding the island perimeter. Island prisoners separate into two factions: the Outsiders and the Insiders. Each with the respective camps, the lawless Outsiders overwhelm the Insider’s numbers by 6 to 1, leaving the small manned community in constant fear of attack and pillage by the Outsider’s merciless leader, Walter Marek. When the insiders learn than Robbins has faced Marek and lived, they take the former solider into their community, but Robbins sole desire is to escape off the condemning rock and with the help of a few good men from the Insiders’ camp, the chances of escape and survival are greater together as long as Marek and his band of starving cutthroats don’t seize the endangered community first.
“Escape from Absolom,” also known as simply “No Escape” in the U.S., is a Martin Campbell directed action film from 1994 that’s futuristic and violent, fun and thrilling, and kitschy without being too cheesy. Campbell, who went on to direct not one, but two, James Bond films, begins a base of epic action that’s toweringly ambitious and pulled off nicely with the stunts and the editing. Based off the Richard Herley novel “The Penal Coloney,” the script is penned by Michael Gaylin who puts pen to paper to scribe a playful, passively aggressive dialogue, but fun and energetic on a the same coy lines of other high visibility action films. Gaylin was able to conform to a story that has no dynamic with the opposite sex in one of the few films that exhibits a rare all male cast.
“Goodfella’s” star Ray Liotta finally got his time to shine as the butch and badass action hero that is Captain Robbins, a highly skilled special forces solider and killing machine whose pragmatic intentions, at first, are hard to read. The cockiness overtop a well-cloaked deadly skill set works to the advantage of the blue-eyed actor for New Jersey. Opposite Liotta is Stuart Wilson (“Hot Fuzz”) as Walter Marek, a 7-year island lifer with dreadlocks and nose bridge piercings to match his psychotic leadership. Wilson does psychotic just fine, but the look resembles John Travolta’s atrocious attire from Battlefield Earth. Lance Henriksen, One of the most recognizable legendary genre actors, has a more serene approach in being a mentor and the leadership figurehead of the Insiders camp when compared to conventionally eccentric, sometimes maniacal performances, but Henriksen has a mellow side to him that conveys are very affectionate kumbaya approach, but any personality compared to Stuart Wilson’s internal rampage would be a stark contrast. “Ghostbusters'” Ernie Hudson has his role as security office in the Insiders camp and the sole black man of the film, for obvious reasons, stands out, but Hudson just adapts to anything you put him in though the Michigan born tended to sway toward the thrilling fantasy/sci-fi genre in the height of his career. Rounding out the cast is Kevin Dillon (“The Blob” remake), Kevin J. O’Conner (“Lord of Illusions”), Don Henderson (“The Ghoul”), Ian McNeice (“Dune”), and Michael Lerner (“Maniac Cop 2”).
All things considered, “Escape from Absolom” is a torrent men-in-prison extravaganza that’s one part Sylvester Stallone “Judge Dredd,” one part Chuck Norris “Missing in Action,” and, as a whole, an endangered brand of droll entertainment. Speaking of Stallone, Ray Liotta did it first as a character who is an expert at escaping the inescapable maximum security penitentiaries and instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dave Bautista as contentious, yet supportive allies, the friendly, yet solidly statured Ernie Hudson and Lance Henriksen share Liotta’s Captain Robbin’s unquenchable lust for freedom, even if it to provide unsheathe exposition of the unethical corporate penal system practices. Far from being a perfect film and extremely blantant on a no underlying message, Martin Campbell undoubtedly has a fine tuned niche of capturing the casual eye with large scale action sequences and an affable character allure.
Umbrella Entertainment releases “Escape from Absolom” on a region-all Blu-ray, presented in 1080p, widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. The coloring is phenomenally remastered and stable compared to previous transfers. There are times when depth becomes two-dimensional or flat, skewing the picture noticeably, but the overall picture quality is spectacular in the vast amount of Australian landscapes and even in the night scenes that show hardly any enhancing, such as sharpening or contrast. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is laid out nicely with audible poise and precision balance. Dialogue is prominent while explosions have just the right amount of oomph under an exact LFE recipe. The release sports other language Dolby Digital audio tracks such as a German 2.0, Spanish 2.0, Italian 2.0, and a French 2.0. Optional English SDH subtitles are available. Bonus material includes a two part making of featurette from around the production of the film with interviews with cast and crew, four TV spots, trailer, and a reversible cover. Runtime is 118 minutes. Martin Campbell’s “Escape from Absolom” is dystopian dynamite, explosive and aggressive with a flare for enjoyable banter amongst defined and diversified characters inhabiting an utopian island of mostly societal scum.
Bill Murray will forever be an ultimate and timeless hero to everyone. If you don’t like Bill Murray, than you’re obviously an idiot because what is their not to like about a comedic icon who loves to crash weddings and end up being the face of all of American’s hipster community? So when news came out today that Bill Murray, at the Toronto International Film Festival, gave his his opinion on who should be cast in the new Ghostbuster film, I was rather disappointed in his taste.
The list is…well…eh. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson were practically every day looking Joes and a couple of those guys weren’t really funny.
I, personally, would not suggest Melissa McCarthy. I could never in a million years image her with a proton pack strapped to her. Subtlety, in a comedy sense, was very much a part of the Ghostbuster persona and McCarthy has not one subtle bone in her body as she’s an “in-your-face” type comedy actress.
Kristen Wiig, I’m good with. I think she’s awkward enough like Murray to pull off the lead role for the film and still have a sexy side of her while busting some ghouls. Her comedy style could be comparable to Murray’s as she is not necessarily over the top with her performances and doesn’t try to steal the show but yet add to the material of the other cast members.
Linda Cardellini made a good Velma in the Scooby Doo movies. As a Ghostbuster, I don’t think she has what it takes as I picture Cardelline more of a Janine Melnitz type character, but since this is a Ghostbuster movie with all female cast, will Janine’s role be replaced by a nerdy, yet somewhat irresistibly cute, man? I shutter at the thought.
Emma Stone comes off a bit dry. Her role would resemble that of Ernie Hudson’s Winston – the character that just joins the ranks for a paycheck. To be one of the guys but stays in the background most of the time. Stone doesn’t have the on screen persona that the original trio (Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis) possess and I would expect too many chefs in the kitchen amongst women star power.
So in all, Kristen Wiig was my only keeper, but who would I chose? Whom am I to fans? I’m certainly no Bill Murray, but I am a fan of film and of actresses and I think the following would be a great cast. Keep Kristen Wiig for the sole reasons I have above. Lets add in a blonde as in Amy Poehler with her subtleness and silliness works well. Mary Elizabeth Winstead would be my next choice because of her dark side that accompanies her – a good choice to be the Egon Spengler equivalent. Then either Mindy Kaling for her awkwardly funny quips or Rinko Kikuchi to be the stand out, kick ass Ghostbuster who seems standout like a sore thumb.
These are just my thoughts and I wouldn’t mind hearing yours!
Here’s a rumor from way out in left field. There seems to be talks between Sony and Paul Feig, the director of “Bridesmaids”, to reboot “Ghostbusters” and have an all female, comedic cast.
No word on whether Ivan Reitman or Dan Aykroyd is in involved in this … project … but there are sources that are saying the script is being totally rewritten.
I’m not totally cool with an all woman cast for “Ghostbusters.” Sure, I was down for one or two roles going to a great cast of new ghostbusting characters, but for all female cast I’m just not feeling it. I also have a sneaking suspicion that Melissa McCarthy will be one of the ghostbusting foursome on the sole basis that she was in “Bridesmaids” and was also in another Feig film “The Heat.” We will have to see where this rumor takes us, but as far as the original cast coming together (sans Harold Ramis – RIP), I see this reboot becoming more of a reality than a sequel.
Comedy has lost one of the greats – a Ghostbuster – Harold Ramis (aka Egon Spengler). Ramis died yesterday due to an autoimmune disease. Ghostbusters I and II are staples in the horror comedy world and Egon Spengler is an iconic character we all loved even with his quirks. RIP Egon.
RIP Harold Ramis