Engineer Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) is still grieving the bankruptcy of his own business and has taken a job with Cardiff, a transnational corporation. This job means that his family must leave Texas and relocate to Southeast Asia. His wife Annie (Lake Bell) is not happy about the move. Their two young daughters (Claire Geare and Sterling Jerins) have no idea what to expect.
Mr. Hammond (Pierce Brosnan), a fellow passenger on the plane, proves to be quite helpful in finding them a cabbie who transports them to their luxury hotel, a popular spot for Americans and other foreigners. Jack is miffed when nothing in the place works from the phones to the lights. It takes him quite a while to learn that the Prime Minister has been assassinated and the city is filled with rebels furious with Americans.
What is the cause of this hatred? Cardiff, the company Jack works for, has privatized the water supply for profit. Soon the hotel is under siege by machete wielding rebels who are killing everyone in sight. Jack and his wife must summon all their physical strength and mental courage to survive this savage attack in which they are chased from one hiding place to another.
Director John Erick Dowdle has fashioned a family-in-peril drama that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Owen Wilson and Lake Bell do a fine job portraying the determination of this scrappy husband and wife in the face of so much danger. The slippery character of Mr. Hammond explains the Western power plays in this unnamed Third world country and makes it clear that this brand of interference will result in Americans being unwelcome in many places. This was also a theme of The Quiet American and is a message that deserves to be heard again and again.