No Way Back (1996) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Crime / Thriller
Sony || R - 91 minutes - $28.95 || June 16, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-06-16

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

B L U - R A Y

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Frank Cappello
Writer(s): Frank Cappello (written by)
Cast: Russell Crowe, Helen Slater

Theatrical Release Date: December 20, 1996

Supplemental Material:
  • BD-Live

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH

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.::THE FILM::.

There is only one reason this meandering action-thriller has even seen the light of day on Blu-ray: Russell Crowe. And thereís only one reason youíd even want to sacrifice 91-minutes of your time: Russell Crowe. No Way Back isnít a terrible movie, merely terribly average, with a sprinkling of a few awful scenes.

Crowe stars as FBI Agent Zack Grant, a wreck loose man who is running out of chances with the Feds after a couple screwed up missions. His latest goes awry when his rookie agent, Seiko (Kelly Hu), murders members of some neo-Nazi gang when she was only to plant a bug and get out. Adding insult to injury, Seiko throws herself out a window, lands on top of the surveillance van and, oh yeah, takes a live grenade with her.

For some reason, Grant is given one last chance to stay with the FBI and that is to infiltrate the Yakuza gang and detain the one thought responsible for the killing spree. Of course things do not go according to plans when Grant, after a fierce firefight, captures Yuji (Etsushi Toyokawa) ó who had a connection with Seiko ó but then mob boss Frank Serlano (Michael Lerner), whose son was killed by Seiko, kidnaps Grantís young son and demands that Grant turn Yuji over to him in exchange for his son.

On the plane trip to Los Angeles to turn Yuji in, Yuji fights back and hijacks the plane where it lands (quite nicely with poor visual effects) on a small airfield in Arizona. Yuji manages to escape out of a door in the cockpit and takes flighty flight attendant Mary (Helen Slater) with him. What follows is part action/adventure part comedy as the three get at each otherís throat while also being chased by one of Serlanoís men, known only as Mr. Contingency (Kristopher Logan).

I guess for a low-budget cheese-fest, No Way Back is an enjoyable movie but with a poor screenplay, thin script and two-dimensional characters, Iím not sure if itís really worth your while (or money) to check out. Sure, Russell Crowe is in it before he became the Oscar-winning superstar we know today, but the script is of no help to him and even his performance comes off as a bit stilted at times. Meanwhile, Helen Slater as the potential love interest is fine in the role but she too isnít given a whole lot to do other than offer up some comedy.

No Way Back is just one of those movies you comes across every so often where it stars (or features) an actor or actress who is now more well known. While the film isnít a total s-fest, itís really only worth watching for Russell Croweís charisma; otherwise itís a catalogue flick that should be in Wal Martís first Blu-ray $5 dump bin... whenever that comes around.


The only features are trailers for other Sony titles (The International, Da Vinci Code and, for some odd reason, older releases like SWAT) plus a BD-Live portal.


Not exactly the poster child for HD transfers, even by catalogue standards, No Way Back actually doesnít look awful (on the whole) but it is littered with plenty of noise and/or grain throughout and in one particular scene, it looked downright dirty. And while itís not terribly sharp in places, it is probably a modest upgrade over its DVD counterpart, but donít expect anything amazing...

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is serviceable but like the video, not exactly thrilling to say the least. Thereís a good amount of gunplay and one big explosion but very little of it had much impact. Dialogue sounds crisp and clear so itís still at least an OK, if not a bit average, of a lossless track.


Letís go over everything: 1. We got a forgettable and fairly poor feature film that is only still around because of its star; 2. The audio and video are both subpar/average at best; and 3. Other than some trailers and a standard BD-Live portal, no real features to speak of. Even if you are a hardcore Crowe fan and/or loved this movie (and it does have a few fans out there), there is no reason to pick this up for anything more than $10 and even then you should hold out for a better deal.