I have no hesitation recommending this excellent little adventure to anyone looking for something old fashioned and a throwback to when the Kipling adventures were still being made in the glory days of Hollywood.
A physician and her uncle are being chased by a German unit through Africa, and they must make their way to safety.
In Africa, 1914, a British physician named Anne (Linn Bjornland) and her husband are stationed at a fort near where her uncle, a stalwart Army Captain (Eric Roberts) holds a command post. When the outpost is besieged by a German unit commandeering a local African tribe as muscle, Anne and her uncle, along with a few others, including an orphaned little African child, must make their way up a mountain and find their way back to safety. Relentlessly pursued by the unit for some top secret intel they carry, Anne and her uncle realize that someone in their party is a spy working for the enemy, making their task that much more difficult.
Shot at the Paramount Ranch in Southern California, but convincingly portrayed as being set in Africa around the time of World War I, Escape Through Africa is shockingly well made and put together, considering that it was done by a first-time filmmaker on a limited budget. Even Eric Roberts, who is far too overexposed as a character actor for rent, does an admirable job in his solid leading role here, and co-star Bjornland is quite good in her strong role. The film is well written, smartly directed and edited, and even the digital effects are (to my eyes) very convincing and seamlessly blend in with the natural environments. Explosions, fire, a moving train, squibs, blood effects, it all looked good to me, and the film has an excellent sense of time and place, as well as very convincing fight scenes and stunt coordination. I was consistently impressed by this one, and the first half was a real humdinger, while the second drags a bit with the pacing. That said, I have no hesitation recommending this excellent little adventure to anyone looking for something old fashioned and a throwback to when the Kipling adventures were still being made in the glory days of Hollywood. The reviews I read on IMDB are grossly unfair to this film. Writer / director Ted Betz should be proud of what he did here.
MVD Visual has just released a DVD of Escape From Africa, and it’s affordably priced to own. No special features are included.