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Lions Gate presents
Ben Russell: "It's the perfect crime."
DVD ReviewIn One Way Out, James Belushi starts out doing his tired "lovable schlub" bit as Detective Harry Woltz, but when his gambling debts back him into a corner he is forced to become an unwilling participant in the commission of a murder. To compound Woltz's moral dilemma, his beautiful detective partner Gwen Buckley (Angela Featherstone), for whom he has an unspoken attraction, will be murdered if he doesn't cooperate. What's a fellow to do?
After a ridiculously outlandish restaurant arrest scene during the opening, where we first get a whiff of Woltz and Buckley's bubbling-beneath-the-surface chemistry, the story does in fact get a bit darker. The character of Woltz, it seems, isn't all squeaky clean, and he owes a pair of tubby casino owners a whopping $150,000 in gambling debts. That's when Woltz is tapped to become a teacher in "how to murder you wife and get away with it" by helping young John Farrow (Jason Bateman) murder the sexy and adulterous Evans Farrow (Guylaine St-Onge), a woman with some wicked cat's-eye makeup.
The premise for this one is interesting enough (detective as murder instructor), but there are plenty of believability-stretching moments that occur along the way to make One Way Out difficult to fully digest at times. Even with some brief, titillating nudity, this one has the convenient plot holes of a poorly-written cop show, including such stock character nuggets as the exasperated commander (Jack Daniel Wells) and the callous detective (Jack Langedijk, here channeling Dennis Hopper). At one point, the doughy Woltz gets run down by a Rolls-Royce, complete with the requisite stuntman-rolling-across-hood sequence, and he simply gets up and dusts himself off, complete with a sardonic wisecrack.
The few genuinely quirky moments in One Way Out, such as Larry Day's crystal-collecting thug Jesse (who likes to pummel people to classical music), are buried by just too many seen-it-before scenarios. I even was willing to forget some of the leaps of faith I had to take (such as two beautiful women actually going limp-kneed for Belushi) once the fine points of the plot were laid out. In the end, it just didn't payoff enough to make it all worthwhile.
Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B
Image Transfer Review: This straight-to-video outing is offered in a 1.33:1 full-frame transfer. This is a dark, moody-looking film, and the transfer reflects that vibe fairly well. Fleshtones look natural, and the color palette exhibits a modicum of warmth across the board. Some fine grain is present during the many night scenes, but in general the transfer is decent. The biggest detriment was the presence of some haloing and/or ringing during some scenes.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 English surround track is nothing spectacular, but in its defense it doesn't have any glaring flaws either. It delivers the dialogue cleanly enough, though the whole audio presentation isn't terribly ornate. There is some slight directional imaging across the front speakers, but the rears aren't used for much more than occasional bits of the score popping in and out.
A Spanish 2.0 surround track is also included.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: For extras, Lion's Gate has included a trailer for One Way Out, and that's about it, unless you are counting that the disc itself is cut into 24 chapters.
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsJames Belushi is a detective with a gambling problem who gets suckered into helping commit the "perfect crime." The story has some nice twists, but the convoluted payoff isn't worth the wait.
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