No Way Out (1987)

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Released 14-Feb-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Booklet
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 109:24 (Case: 114)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:19) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Roger Donaldson
Studio
Distributor
Neufeld-Ziskin
Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Kevin Costner
Gene Hackman
Sean Young
Will Patton
Howard Duff
Jason Bernard
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music Maurice Jarre


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
German
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Polish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, at start of credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    No Way Out is a tough movie to write a plot synopsis for, as anyone who has seen this film would probably understand. Do you talk about the romance, or the cover-up, or even the crime? If you do, how much can be said before one of the plot's little surprises is revealed, and in doing so, spoilt for first-time viewers? The best thing you can do is to go out and rent this movie, while knowing as little as possible about its storyline. Don't even read the blurb on the back cover. I'm serious.

    All I will say about No Way Out is that it is a suspense/thriller/romance which stars Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Sean Young, Will Patton and Howard Duffhas.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Before I start deconstructing the picture quality, I just want to ask one question -"Where's the 16x9 enhancement?".

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced, despite a claim to the contrary on the DVD's packaging.

    Foreground sharpness and detail is great and the background detail is good too. If the picture didn't alias as much and had less film artefacts, this transfer would have received a 4 star rating with no problem, but alas it wasn't to be. There is good shadow detail when required and the picture looks natural and well balanced throughout. Apart from some deliberately added low-level noise on a TV set, no low-level noise was noticed. No edge enhancement or edge bleeding was noticed either. The picture looks great in these departments.

    The colour is beautiful, with rich natural-looking skin tones. I was amazed at how good the colour and the overall picture was on more than one occasion. Of course, the colour isn't quite as vibrant as most of the films made in the late 90s, but we cannot expect it to be.

    There are two types of grain in this transfer. Both appear to be largely film-induced. The first type is trivial and is present for almost the entire film. There are, however, a couple of sequences where it totally disappears. The second type is much more noticeable and distracting. The opening credits show a perfect example of this, between 0:20 - 2:30. Thankfully this type of grain is reasonably rare. Scenes with sky in them were always affected (e.g. 39:00), but at least this is a largely indoor movie.

    No MPEG artefacts were noticed. Now, onto this transfer's biggest problem - aliasing and moiré artefacts. Each time the camera moved or there was some chrome on the screen, the picture usually suffered from strong aliasing or moiré artefacts. These aliasing and moiré artefacts strike very regularly. The worst cases can be found at 22:05 - 22:22, 31:12, 35:55 - 36:15, 37:47 - 37:52 and 46:05. The great news here is that if you are using a progressive scan DVD player, it all just disappears. Even the worst scenes are rock-solid with no trace of aliasing or moiré to be found.

    After 55:17 there is some minor vertical telecine wobble, but it is enough to be distracting when the camera is stationary. Another telecine wobble occurs at 31:24, this time horizontally, which is much more noticeable.

    The preponderance of film artefacts is yet another area where this transfer lets us down somewhat. There are a really large number of small film artefacts scattered throughout the entire movie. For some strange reason I didn't find these small film artefact distracting at all. There are also quite a few medium-sized and large film artefacts present, which were certainly distracting at times.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring in Chapter 18, at 68:19 on a scene change. Its placement is excellent and I almost did not notice it. So, this a very good layer change that does not disrupt the flow of the movie.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are five 224Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks on this DVD; English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. I listened to the default English soundtrack. I would like to praise Fox Home Video for using the superior 224Kb/s bitstreams here and I hope they become their standard bitrate for Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks. One thing that isn't so good is the fact that they forgot to embed the surround-sound encoding flag into the bitstreams.

    The dialogue was extremely clear and easy to understand throughout the entire movie. When the actors really yelled the dialogue got a little distorted, such as at 15:00, 18:22 and 74:19. There were a couple of really tiny pops and clicks in the soundtrack, but they were nothing to worry about.

    No audio sync problems were noticed with this transfer.

    Maurice Jarre's music score was excellent and had me on the edge of my set the first time I saw this movie.

    The surround mix is good and it supports the movie well. The surround speakers are mostly used for some low-level background effects and musical ambience. There are a couple of key sequences that totally envelop you in music and subtle effects. On a couple of occasions, the centre channel seemed to be over-utilised for effects which narrowed the front stage noticeably, but there were only a couple of instances of this.

    The subwoofer was used on many occasions to add some extra punch to the music, especially during the more dramatic sequences.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras consist of just one theatrical trailer and a booklet.

Menu

    The Menus are plain and simple, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The Main Menu selections are; Play, Scene Selections (28), Language Options and Original Theatrical Trailer.

    The Scene Selection menu has an index, which makes jumping to any chapter quick and easy.

Theatrical Trailer (1:28 minutes)

    The theatrical trailer is of good quality and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with a 224Kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. The picture is slightly soft and there is some minor grain present.

Booklet

    This is the typical booklet that comes with MGM DVDs, containing production notes. This one is a little briefer than others that I have seen.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     A very easy choice; R4. Reasons: the R1 apparently suffers from the same artefacts as the R4 version, plus it will also have 3:2 Pull-Down artefacts and lower picture resolution, which will probably make the aliasing even worse.

Summary

    No Way Out is a great film that I would recommend to anyone who likes a good suspense/thriller.

    The picture quality is merely acceptable if you don't have a progressive scan DVD player because of all the aliasing and moiré artefacts. If you have a progressive scan DVD player then the picture quality is rather good.

    The audio quality is good, pretty much your standard Dolby Digital surround-encoded soundtrack.

    The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Friday, February 09, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SV919THX
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

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