No Escape No Return (1993) Poster

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NO RENT, NO WATCH
kane-318 February 2002
Where to begin with a movie like NO ESCAPE, NO RETURN? How about the title? Why not? It makes no sense and has nothing to do with the plot (if you want to call it a plot). It should be called 21 JUMP STREET : THE LATTER YEARS. Maxwell Caufield steps in for Johnny Depp as the good looking- young- white- cop. He seems to still be searching for another GREASE 2. Some newcomer bimbo plays the blonde. Oh yeah, Ioki's back, and this time he gets to do some stuff! DUSTIN NYGUEN finally gets to show off his martial arts skills (or lack there of) as the tougher of three renegade police (picture MOD SQUAD! only not as good!). This movie just makes you feel bad for veteran great JOHN SAXON, although his scenes are the only ones worth watching. JOEY TRAVOLTA pops his head in once or twice, probably just to remind us how much he resembles brother JOHN. The "action" sequences are rare and never live up to such great scenes as, let's say, the mudslide scene from "ROMANCING THE STONE". If you love to torture yourself with this kind of garbage, as I do, then rent "NO ESCAPE..." for a good laugh. The biggest one comes when NYGUEN's character sits alone in bed, crying his eyes out! Poor Ioki. Cheer up. I hear BOOKER needs a new partner.
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5/10
Good martial arts fight scenes
m_roberts_077 August 2013
I was lucky to have found No Escape No Return in a Cash Converter store for $2 I am glad I bought it because i didn't know anything about the movie, but when I noticed it was a P.M production I knew it was right up my alley. Anywho, to cut things short I got this just because Dustin Nguyen was a lead actor.

I didn't expect Dustin to use martial arts as frequently throughout the movie like he did...he has talent. I enjoyed the fight scenes a lot. The rest of the movie is as what you'd expect from a B Grade movie - bad acting with a poor plot. If you like martial arts action like I do then I can recommend the movie to you.

I give this 5 stars half-half because of the unexpected martial arts scenes. Otherwise, I would've thrown the movie in the trash.
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6/10
"That's how I know you ain't a cop - you too [...] crazy"
NO ESCAPE, NO RETURN is a fairly unique entry into the subgenre of police-themed action-thrillers, and it is worth checking out despite my average rating. This well-written adventure is engaged in a fight with producers trying to shoehorn it into the form of a throwaway adrenaline piece. Concessions appear to have been made that result in some sloppily-presented scenes and heavy-handed drama, but you're still looking at an interesting and engaging alternative to the usual PM cop fare.

The story: Three police officers – played by Dustin Nguyen, Denise Loveday, and Maxwell Caulfield – are targeted for internal sabotage after interfering in the plans of a drug baron.

The movie's strengths begin with its three leads, who do collectively well with their roles. The film gives Maxwell Caulfield top billing, but this is in fact one of the few times wherein all three of a movie's leads play equally prominent characters. Too much of their background and motivations are revealed via exposition and the strongest of their dramatic scenes are mucked about with attention-pleading editing, but the performers seem to genuinely feel their roles and have a natural chemistry that make their relationships believable. Additionally, the extended storyline is equal to these characters for its unconventionality. The plot against the characters begins as an assassination attempt but morphs into a cerebral attack, leading to the stars making some genuinely surprising decisions throughout the film.

The action is a solid mix of shooting, fighting, and explosions. It's not the best stuff ever, but a little more of it would have bolstered my rating. Some of the gunfights are nice, and the PM studio lives up to its reputation by including a couple of cool car crashes, but the clear star of the action scene is Dustin Nguyen. Nguyen is choosy when it comes to his action roles, supposedly having turned down films for years to avoid being typecast as a karate man, and a feature like this makes you value the parts wherein he does demonstrate his aptitude for the martial arts. He leads four of the five fights, and while I would have given a lot to see him take on some credible opponents, it's a thrill to see him cut loose, particularly in the three-on-one brawl.

Problems with the jumpy pacing occasionally give the feature an oddly experimental vibe, and its passive justification of police brutality rings particularly foul nowadays. Nevertheless, for all its faults, the movie is entertaining in more than a mindless way. It would be great if writer-director Charles Kanganis' screenplay had instead been filmed by someone like Dwight Little, but even in its current state, I recommend this one for viewing by action fans.
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"PM" in this case means "Poor Movie"
Wizard-815 August 2014
The PM Entertainment production "No Escape No Return" was made just before the company started to make a serious name for itself with high quality direct to video actioners like "Rage" and "Last Man Standing". Indeed, this movie already has the PM trademarks of very good photography and lighting. Unfortunately, that's about all that's good that can be said of this otherwise sorry effort. Most of the blame can be placed on the shoulders of writer/director Charles T. Kanganis. His script, for one thing, is ridiculously padded. It takes FOREVER for the movie to introduce the three lead protagonists, and once that happens, it takes an equally long time to get them into the predicament that they spend most of the remaining movie trying to get out of. And the protagonists, when not coming across as incredibly bland, come off instead as unlikable. Part of that has to be the poor performances, but there's also plenty of dopey and/or stilted dialogue the actors are forced to say. The movie may have been saved by serviceable action sequences, but to tell the truth, the poor direction and editing saps any energy another director might have been able to contain. This is not the worst PM Entertainment production, but even fans of PM Entertainment (like myself) will find this really tough to sit through.
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1/10
Tends To Be Anything But A Quality Production.
rsoonsa21 May 2009
For this uninvolving action piece, the director's eye is more upon pyrotechnic effects and stunt work rather than narrative flow, and following upon its violent opening minutes, the work simply skids into predictability, a viewer being able to foretell even the details of dialogue. The setting is Los Angeles, where this movie is filmed, its plot relating of three members of the Los Angeles Police Department, assigned to an undercover narcotics detail, during which deadly complications occur, as a DEA operative and two uniformed officers are killed, this while a very large amount of drug sale money disappears, about which none involved appears to have any knowledge. The three surviving undercover officers are subsequently under suspicion, leading to a Department personnel investigation that alleges they are secreting the missing cash, whereupon the trio become fugitives as they attempt to discover who is answerable for the aborted operation. The police official heading the investigation, Captain Mitchell (John Saxon), and a sergeant working under him, Dante, played by Michael Nouri, are aware that the longer the renegades are on the lam, the more serious their situation will become, yet the officers remain in hiding, although each alienates the others during the course of their search for the elusive drug dealer. Any possible inner aspects of the officers (Maxwell Caulfield, Dustin Nguyen, Denise Loveday) are neglected while they behave as rampaging steamrollers while seeking the narcotics kingpin. An additional matter of significance appears from within the Department, as a possibility exists that a police official is linked with the Forces of Evil. Despite the generally reliable cast members, a flabbily constructed script and weak direction impede their best efforts, with a surfeit of the storyline's emphasis being upon cartoonish violence and frequently occurring explosions to please devotees of that sort of activity. A hackneyed screenplay simply does not provide enough contributing sidelights to keep plot emphasis away from clichéd episodes of violence, and the actors merely go along with the work's prevailing mediocrity. Nouri, as a conflicted Dante, is able to liberate himself from his limitative lines often enough to handily gain acting honours here. Essentially a thick ear production that favours loud noises and lead characters yelling at each other, the movie is at the typically low level plumbed by PM Entertainment Group, a company that specialised in cinematic slag. The DVD release of the work comes from Madacy, an outfit with a spotty reputation for quality. However, in this instance, both its visual and sound grades are excellent. The only bonus feature is an imposing 50 minutes of strident trailers from PM for films which a viewer of sensibility might not sit through by choice.
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