Trade? No Box-Checking for No Exit?
Okay, does this review really need to discuss Hollywood box-checking? Even Yours truly is exhausted discussing this annoying issue. It screws up movies, or, at the least, makes them less credible and therefore less entertaining than they might be.
Enter, ahem, "No Exit," a 2022 thriller starring Havana Rose Liu (Really?), the daughter of the husband and wife who formed the website wedding business The Knot. She is a fashion model turned actress, which means she's a good 105 pounds soaking wet (Thanks, Pop-Pop!), and has the upper body strength of a dish towel.
During this junior varsity "Die Hard," Ms. Liu finds herself stranded in a rest stop during a Sierra Nevada blizzard. Coincidentally, a kidnapped child is screaming in a van, and there are enough sketchy characters inside the visitors center shelter to remake "Clue."
With these trite devices installed, the film takes us through the inevitable arc of Ms. Liu fighting off two psychopathic kidnappers; the underrated Dennis Haysbert (Former Marine) taken down before Ms. Liu, despite his martial training; and the red herring former maid of the child outed as in on the crime.
It adds up to a completely preposterous ending.
Ms. Liu, playing former drug addict in eternal rehab, Darby Thorne, enters into the Hamlet-like ending as the Terminator. Despite the loss of about a thousand gallons of blood due to a nail-gun crucifixion, this former underwear model goes toe-to-toe with the vicious kidnappers and the cliche-ridden stooge of a White Cop.
The biggest disappointment is the base concept of "No Exit," is a fine creative riff on an old theme. Even the elimination of the cell phone distress call short-circuited by bad reception works. The location is in one of the most inaccessible and isolated parts of Lake Tahoe, and a blizzard has closed the roads. But did they have to cast this politically-correct girly-girl in the lead?
Was Chris Evans not available.
Have you seen "Ghosted?"