No Way Out (Blu-ray Review)

No-Way-OutImagine being a hunter leading highly trained bloodhounds in pursuit of a killer… and the trail leads directly to you! Starring Academy-Award® winners Kevin Costner  and Gene Hackman,  No Way Out is “a mesmerizing look at Washington power” (The Hollywood Reporter). Available on February 16th, 2016 from Shout! Factory, this taut and stylish thriller also comes with audio commentary with director Roger Donaldson and the original theatrical trailer.  Also starring in the film are Sean Young (Blade Runner, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) and Will Patton (Falling Skies, Remember The Titans).



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In a fit of rage, Secretary of Defense David Brice murders his mistress. To keep a lid on the scandal, Brice’s loyal aide creates the perfect cover-up; he “invents” a more enticing killer — a Russian spy — and then enlists naval commander Tom Farrell to find him. But as a chilling twist of fate would have it, Farrell also has a strong connection to the victim… and now all the clues he’s been hired to uncover are leading straight to him! In a desperate race against time, Farrell’s search for the killer is not only a matter of national security, but also a matter of saving his own hide.

This Kevin Costner/Gene Hackman thriller is one with a twist and pretty solid turn.  Its a unique story of a man set to investigate a setup, only to find he’s investigating himself.  There’s a pretty good spin toward the end of the film that is probably why it still holds some weight now and was a big film back in the day.  Roger Ebert gave it a perfect 4/4 in 1987.  Today, it still works pretty well, though I didn’t find it as wowing as some of the review from back then that I perused.

All the performances in No Way Out are pretty darn good.  Gene Hackman is his usual terrific self and Costner is, well, Kevin Costner.  Costner’s character I actually kind of found to be a bit of a prick and hard to get behind.  Similar to my problem with Maverick in Top Gun.  Just not someone I really like or support.  Will Patton gives a little weird performance.  My highlight, though, is Sean Young, who may give a career best performance here.  Throughout the 80s she was getting good gigs, but always seemed kinda flat (Worked in Blade Runner though!), but here she’s jovial, fun and compassionate.  All in all, she was my favorite character in the thing, but she gets bumped off to set the plot into motion.

No Way Out is a solid little thriller from the 1980s that was a pretty big deal upon its arrival (90% on Rotten Tomatoes), but seemingly has fallen by the wayside over time.  Its still pretty solid and an entertaining watch, but I think I probably check it out past its prime.  My biggest takeaway from this was how good Sean Young was, and that it might be her best performance that I’ve personally seen.  Take it for what it is, and you’ll likely enjoy the 2 hours spent with this solid thriller.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  No Way Out Comes to Blu-ray with a pretty good and bright transfer.  The opening credits get this off to pretty rough start, but once they clear the frames get much more crisp and pretty looking.  Detail is pretty good, with being closer paying off more than medium and far shots.

Depth:  Some pretty good work here.  Spacing in interiors looks pretty free with some good dimensional work.

Black Levels:  Blacks are solid, darker scenes and textures feature heavier grain.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are natural and tad dingy.  Whites look pretty impressive.  Wood paneling and browns also perform good.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the feature runtime.  Facial features look good in close-ups but smooth out the further the camera pulls back.

Noise/Artifacts:  There is some grain, specs/dirt in minimal amounts throughout. 

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Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  No Way Out is in no way a bad 5.1 track, but the volume does need to come up a tad more than normal.  Its a product of its time and features a solid mix, with rather clean track, but there is some blending here and there and I base that on age.

Low Frequency Extension:  This is more of a talkie movie but there as some “at sea” scenes where blasts of water benefit from the subwoofer.  Engines humming, gun shots and doors shutting kinda things also get a bit of a bump.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Not really much from the rear channels aside from some ambient sound and scoring.  Front speakers accurately catalog the happenings onscreen. 

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is solid, if a hair muffled.

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Audio Commentary

  • With Director Roger Donaldson

Trailer (HD, 1:30) 

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This Kevin Costner relic from his rise to fame in the late 1980s is now available on Blu-ray (released back in February) from Shout! Factory.  The film features a cast full of familiar faces giving good turns in their respective roles.  The Blu-ray features a commentary with the director to go along with a very good presentation in the audio and video department.  An nice little pick up for fans of the film or Costner/Hackman/Young.



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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