No Way Out (1987) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD: don't read if you plan to rent it. 

The plot of this movie is completely implausible - based on a one-in-a-zillion string of coincidences 

(1) in order to divert suspicion from a semi-accidental murder he has committed, a powerful member of the executive branch creates a red herring - and shifts the blame to a non-existent legendary Russian spy.

(2) to head up the investigation of the fictional "Yuri", he hires simon-pure goody-two-shoes naval hero Kevin Costner to give the investigation a veneer of credibility and sincerity

(3) it turns out that Costner was also the deceased woman's lover, and was there the night of the murder, and his own investigation is starting to point to him.

"What's so bad about that, Scoop? So far, that's kinda cool that Costner's investigation is starting to turn up Costner, even though he's not guilty."

Wait a minute. I haven't gotten to the really silly coincidence yet. It turns out that the legendary non-existent Russian mole, whom the Secretary thought was fictional, really does exist!

Better than that - it's Costner!!!

So think about that - we blame a murder on a non-existent guy. Turns out that the guy really does exist, and not only that, but of all the people in the world, he's the one other guy who actually could have committed the murder, having left the apartment just minutes before it happened. So what are your odds on that one? 


Sean Young was topless in the famous scene where she took off her fur and entered the apartment naked. In the full screen version, it is possible to see some lower body exposure as well.

There are many topless dancers in the background in a scene in the Philippines

OK, I know that's silly, but the movie is actually pretty darned exciting. (Roger Ebert gave it the rare full four stars)

You see, Costner is frantically trying to keep the investigation from unearthing him, and we think all along that it's to avoid the murder charge, not knowing the deeper implications. So witnesses come in to testify and Costner, head of the investigation, has to keep them from seeing his face - it's all pretty slick. I have to say it's a very watchable movie, despite what must be the most ludicrous plot device since the invention of the Deus Ex Machina.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1, and a full screen version

  • no meaningful features


  • Given the fact that Costner has some trouble speaking English, I thought his Russian would give Elya a few laughs. She was astounded to report that he delivers his lines perfectly, with only the faintest hint of an accent, if any, and got the difficult Russian vowels exactly right. The man missed his calling. I guess he should have played Eugene Onegin instead of Robin Hood.
  • Sean Young must have the largest ears of any woman I've ever seen. I'm surprised they never tapped her to play a Vulcan in any of the Star Trek movies or shows.
  • The widescreen/fullscreen situation with this DVD is not the usual case. Normally you're comparing the theatrical version on widescreen to a pan 'n scan fullscreen. In the case of this movie, the fullscreen version is not a pan 'n scan type, but is the full negative type. To make a long story short, that means that there is more info on the fullscreen version than on the widescreen version. The full screen has just as much on the left and right, but far more on the top and bottom, including nudity. 

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.0 
  • With their dollars ... it grossed $35 million in the USA
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. It is actually an exciting and tense thriller, albeit unbelievable.

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