Return to ads
All categories
Helen Slater

Helen Slater

Posted by
Posting ads for 47 years
June 25, 2009 - It's really frustrating that films like Jaws, Star Wars or even something less monumental like Braveheart have yet to make the leap to Blu-ray, but this little-known DTV Russell Crowe actioner is filing onto the format as though it were a blockbuster.

Who is the target demographic for this shoestring thriller? Russell Crowe has certainly starred in better movies, so what's the appeal in seeing him in a straight-to-video mish-mash? But No Way Back is on Blu-ray, while Gladiator isn't.

No Way Back (original title, huh?) follows an FBI agent, Zack Grant (Crowe), as he attempts to find out who was responsible for the explosive botched undercover operation that landed his partners in several brown wooden boxes.

The trail takes him to Japan, where he captures a Yakuza named Yuji (Etsushi Toyokawa) and prepares to take him back to the states.

But it's not long before the plot thickens.

A grieving, vengeful mafia boss, Frank Serlano (Michael Lerner), whose skinhead son died during the botched undercover job, kidnaps Zack's only son and threatens to kill him unless he turns over Yuji.

But getting in the way is a feisty flight attendant (Helen Slater) and one of Serlano's men (Kristopher Logan), who calls himself Mr.


The picture, written and directed by Frank Cappello (writer, Eulogy), throws just about every action thriller cliché imaginable at the audience.

There are shoot-outs, a handful of fist fights, a car chase, an airplane hijacking, a hostage trade, a plucky sidekick, a heartwarming finale.

Every single character, every single story angle, every single performance feels stripped from better action movies like Air Force One, Lethal Weapon or Die Hard.

To make matters worse, the elements in between are dreadfully boring and/or flat.

Russell Crowe, in one of his first American roles, certainly shows promise, but his performance is shaky at best.

His natural Aussie accent slides into his character in virtually every scene, and Crowe looks painfully bored, as though he knows he'll do bigger, better things in the future.

Helen Slater is downright annoying as the goofy, motor-mouthed flight attendant-turned hostage.

Her character is a walking, talking cliché from the moment she's on screen and she never ceases to be brutally annoying, though honestly it's not her fault.

Slater has absolutely no chemistry with Crowe, which makes their budding romance feel all the more manufactured and mechanical.

The action is pretty decent, for a low budget cheapie.

Don't expect greatness, though.

The best scenes involve the plane hijacking (which takes place about midway through the movie).

Sadly, this sequence is incredibly brief.

Afterward, the film transitions back to a cheap Lethal Weapon-like knockoff.

Be sure to look for a fun cameo though â€" Crowe uses the same gun used in In the Line of Fire.

There's nothing really interesting about No Way Back.

Russell Crowe very nearly phones in his role and his supporting cast does little to elevate the material, or his performance.

The story isn't cheesy, bad or mock-worthy, either.

No Way Back is just a cliché-laden action romp packed with tiresome thrills and chills.

Watch the movies that inspired it instead.

They're far, far better.

And if you want an early-career Russell Crowe fix, watch something like Romper Stomper or The Quick and the Dead instead.

Both films are much more intriguing, and flashy.

Score: 5 out of 10Video and PresentationNo Way Back is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a single-layered BD25 disc consuming 21.9 gigs of disc space.

This appears to be a pretty low budget effort from First Look and Sony, so it's not surprising that this transfer is far from stellar.

Visuals are moderately soft, with not much detail gleaned.

Depth, shadows and details are fine, but hardly up to new-release standards.

Surprisingly, the print is free of dust and dirt barring just a few spots.

The encode is proficient, with very few flaws.

On the whole, factoring in the cheap look of the film, this is pretty good transfer.

Just don't expect greatness.

Score: 7 out of 10Languages and Audio Audio choices are English TrueHD 5.1 with Spanish subtitles and English captions for the hearing impaired.

Again, this is a pretty low-budget effort, but like the transfer, the results are better than expected.

Sound effects and score bounce around the mix with some effectiveness, though the low budget hinders the presentation somewhat â€" effects don't exactly sound organic, and some don't fit in at all.

Dialogue is fairly clean and easy to hear, mostly tucked into the center channel.

Bass isn't very active, but evenly designed and consistent with the rest of the mix.

Score: 6 out of 10Extras and Packaging This single-disc release comes packed in a blue elite case featuring the film's crappy re-release artwork.

Not surprisingly, all fans get are a bunch of trailers for other Sony films and Sony's standard BD-Live web portal.

Score: 1 out of 10The Bottom LineNo Way Back is pretty substandard genre fare â€" there's little pizzazz, or appeal, other than Russell Crowe and maybe Kelly Hu (making a brief appearance) â€" but both performers have been in much better films.

Watch those movies instead, unless you enjoy cheap action thrillers.

IGN's Ratings for No Way BackRatingDescription out of 10click here for ratings guide5The Movie There's nothing really interesting about No Way Back.7The Video Factoring in the cheap look of the film, this is pretty good transfer.

Just don't expect greatness.6The Audio This is a pretty low-budget effort, but like the transfer, the results are better than expected.1The Extras BD-Live and trailers.5OVERALL(out of 10 / not an average)
Reply to this ad
Recently viewed ads
Saved ads
Please log in to browse your saved adverts or sign up if you don't have an account yet.
Popular Stuff