Escape from Absolom (No Escape) (Blu-ray) (1994)

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Released 4-Jul-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-Making Of Featurette 1 (29:13)
Featurette-Making Of Featurette 2 (6:20)
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots-x 4
Reversible Cover-Shows the alternative title of the film: No Escape
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 118:05
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Martin Campbell
Studio
Distributor
Savoy Pictures
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Ray Liotta
Lance Henriksen
Stuart Wilson
Kevin Dillon
Kevin J. O'Connor
Michael Lerner
Ernie Hudson
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Graeme Revell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
French Dolby Digital 2.0
German Dolby Digital 2.0
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     In the year 2022 high security prisons have been privatised, and run for profit. Captain John Robbins (Ray Liotta) shot his commanding officer dead and was jailed for life; after attempted escapes and other infractions the Warden (Michael Lerner) has Roberts dumped onto Absolom, an island 200 miles away from the coast. There are no guards on Absolom; instead the worst of the worst are stranded there for life, any attempt to escape by building a boat picked up on imaging, intercepted and destroyed by helicopter gunships.

     Robbins is captured by the Outsiders, a tribal confederation of convicts who have become primitive under the loose command of Marek (Stuart Wilson); only the fittest, or most brutal, survive. Robbins escapes but is wounded; falling off a cliff he is found hurt and injured by the other group of convicts that inhabit the island, the Insiders. Under the leadership of The Father (Lance Henriksen), the Insiders have built a compound within which they have established a village cooperative, growing vegetables, working together on defence against the Outsiders and gathering items washed up on the shore. As Robbins’ injuries slowly heal under the eye of King (Ian McNeice), Robbins meets Hawkins (Ernie Hudson), the head of security, Dysart (Jack Shepherd), the inventor, Stephano (Kevin J. O’Connor), the scavenger and is idolised by young boy Casey (Kevin Dillon). Robbins only wants to find a way to escape from the island and rejects overtures from The Father to stay and help the Insiders. But on Christmas night the Outsiders attack and break into the compound and Robbins realises that if he wants to escape he will need help. However, there is a spy for the Warden within the camp of the Insiders who will have to be exposed first.

     Escape from Absolom (entitled No Escape in the US) is based upon the novel The Penal Colony by Richard Herley and directed by Martin Campbell. Campbell had been around for a couple of decades mostly directing TV, admittedly very good TV including Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983) and the wonderful Edge of Darkness (1985) plus a few had features but after Escape from Absolom his career really took off with GoldenEye (1995), The Mask of Zorro (1998) and Casino Royale (2006). Campbell can certainly do action and the individual fights and pitched battles in Escape from Absolom are loud and energetic. Escape from Absolom was filmed on location in North Queensland so the jungle is suitable oppressive and the compound set, which was built in its entirety, looks fabulous belying the film’s limited budget. There is a little bit of CGI enhancing the explosions; they are generally decent, the exception being the destruction of the boat which looks very fake.

     Ray Liotta is not that charismatic as a lead but his Robbins is suitably tough and stoic, including having rats run across his head and body, Lance Henriksen is a commanding presence, a very young Kevin Dillon (brother of Matt) is fine but the standout is Stuart Wilson who is great fun, almost channelling Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now; Wilson would reteam with Campbell again in The Mask of Zorro. And if you look very closely you may see David Wenham as “Hotel Guard #2” before he went on to rather more meaty roles!

     The plot of Escape from Absolom has been done a few times and the film does not break any new ground. But director Martin Campbell and producer Gale Anne Hurd (who produced many of James Cameron’s films) get a lot of atmosphere and chaotic action into the story and the Queensland locations are excellent, resulting in a worthwhile addition to the action genre.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Escape from Absolom is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     This is a decent Blu-ray presentation. Detail is strong, showing off the design features of the compound set, and the colours are natural; the jungle greens, the grey cliffs along the shore and the blue sea. There are quite a few scenes at night, including the attack on the compound and Robbins’ infiltrating the Outsider’s camp; blacks are solid and shadow detail on most occasions very good, although there are a couple of places where they could be stronger. Skin tones are fine, brightness and contrast consistent.

     There was some motion blur against the jungle foliage with movement but otherwise I did not notice any artefacts or marks.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are provided.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
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Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio is English DTS-HD MA 2.0 and there are German, Italian, French and Spanish dubs in Dolby Digital 2.0.

     The audio is mono with everything from the centre speaker. Dialogue is clear and the effects, including the ocean waves breaking on the shore, the helicopter engines and explosions, the yells during battles, are quite sharp and loud.

     The score by Graeme Revell was fine without being memorable.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Reversible Cover

     The inside cover shows the alternative title of the film: No Escape.

Making Of Featurette 1 (29:13)

     Made in 1994, this is less of a “Making of” and more an extended explanation of the plot and characters with a bit on star Ray Liotta, the set, the weapons, costumes and filming in Australia. It utilises on-set behind the scenes footage, a few film clips and comments from director Martin Campbell, producer Gale Anne Hurd, cast Ray Liotta, Lance Henriksen, Stuart Wilson, Kevin Dillon, Jack Shepherd, Ernie Hudson, Kevin J. O’Connor, Don Henderson, Ian McNeice, the stunt coordinator, make-up and hair designer, editor, production designer and armorer.

Making Of Featurette 2 (6:20)

     The above featurette edited down to 6 minutes as an EPK.

Theatrical Trailer (2:10)

TV Spots

     Four TV spots; 0:30 / 0:30 / 0:30 / 0:29. Each must be selected individually.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     There are some special MediaBook edition Blu-rays of Escape from Absolom listed on Amazon that are quite expensive. I cannot discover any details or find a review. Our Region B is the only other release listed.

Summary

     Escape from Absolom is nothing special or new but with Martin Campbell on board as director it has good action sequences, decent performances and excellent North Queensland locations resulting in an enjoyable couple of hours.

     The video and audio are good, the extras add some value. The previous DVD of Escape from Absolom was released over 15 years ago and was reviewed on this site. That DVD had only a trailer as an extra and was in the incorrect aspect ratio of 1.78:1 so an update for fans is a no-brainer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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