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Movie Review: 'Inescapable' -- 2 stars

Alexander Siddig and Joshua Jackson star in

Alexander Siddig and Joshua Jackson star in "Inescapable." Credit: Alexander Siddig and Joshua Jackson star in "Inescapable."

2 stars
Written and directed by Rubba Nadda
Starring Alexander Siddig, Marisa Tomei, Joshua Jackson
Not Rated

Some five years after Liam Neeson rampaged through Europe in "Taken," displaying his "particular set of skills" on a relentless mission to rescue his kidnapped daughter, knockoff "Inescapable" arrives in theaters.

Writer-director Rubba Nadda's Syrian-set flick is more somber and subdued than its flashy predecessor, with overheated dialogue about past slights and betrayals and expository tedium.

A handful of logic-defying confrontations are thrown in for good measure.

The truth is that nothing of particular consequence happens until the last act, as former Syrian secret police officer/ falsely accused Israeli spy-turned-Canadian-computer operations manager Adib Abdul-Kareem (Alexander Siddig) gets closer to finding his missing-in-Damascus daughter.

Of course, the filmmaker would seem utterly tone deaf if the movie was simply a B-level thriller set in Syria.

"Inescapable" takes place in 2011, just before the start of the still-ongoing, brutal civil war that has left thousands dead and much of Syria in ruins.

The movie suffers from the conflict between Nadda's potboiler instincts and her understandable need to acknowledge the brutality of Syria's secretive regime. So we're given a main character with an overwrought back story and lots of emoting that distracts from the more-innocent business at hand.

Siddig doesn't have the charismatic, don't-mess-with-me appeal of Neeson or other classic loners. There's no desperation to his search for his daughter, and no real reason for us to care about it.

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