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POINT OF NO RETURN ($29) is a competent and entertaining Americanized remake of Luc Besson's 1990 film LA FEMME NIKITA. Sure, it is in no way the classic that Besson's superior original has become, but works well enough to make for more than an evening’s diversion. Perhaps director John Badham was not the ideal choice to oversee such a production, as his workmanlike approach to the material fails to make the same visceral impact that Besson made with LA FEMME NIKITA. In the remake’s favor, Bridget Fonda acquits herself quite well in the film’s leading role carrying her character through the wildly different phases of her development.

The POINT OF NO RETURN tells the story of Maggie Hayward (Bridget Fonda), a drug addict who is convicted of murdering a police officer during a botched drug store robbery. Maggie is sentenced to death, only to awaken from her "lethal injection" to discover she has been recruited to be trained as a government assassin. Given the choice of accepting her recruitment or having the execution carried out for real, Maggie reluctantly accepts the offer given to her by her new handler, a man known only as Bob (Gabriel Byrne).

At this point Maggie undergoes extensive training in all the skills that will be required to make her a deadly assassin, as well as the skills she will need to work undercover in a new identity. After a successful first assignment, Maggie is renamed Claudia Anne Doran, and relocated to southern California where she continues doing the government sanctioned work she was trained for. Of course, complications arise when "Claudia" falls in love with J.P. (Dermot Mulroney), and as a result, she begins to long for a normal life outside the agency. The cast of POINT OF NO RETURN also features Miguel Ferrer, Anne Bancroft, Olivia d'Abo, Richard Romanus, Harvey Keitel, Lorraine Toussaint, Geoffrey Lewis, Mic Rodgers and Michael Rapaport.

Warner Home Video has made POINT OF NO RETURN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is surprisingly good for a catalog title from the early 1990s. For the most part, the image is quite sharp. Additionally, one will find an impressive level of detail in close-ups, while longer shots come across a hair less resolved. Colors are rendered at a fairly strong level of saturation and produce largely attractive flesh tones. Blacks are accurate, whites are crisp, plus the contrast and shadow detail are very strong performers. The elements from which POINT OF NO RETURN have been transferred appear are pretty clean. There is grain present throughout, darker sequences do show more, but it keeps the presentation very film-like.

POINT OF NO RETURN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. Like the visual quality, POINT OF NO RETURN provides surprisingly good sonics, which are actually even better than the visuals. The sound design is punchy and full of life, whether it is for putting the wow in the action sequences or just creating convincing sonic environments for the quieter scenes. There is plenty of directionality and well-placed effects during the action-oriented moments, which engage the outlying channels quite nicely. Fidelity is very strong, which creates convincing sound effects, plus the track has a forceful bottom end. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. English, French, Spanish and German Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, in addition to an Italian 2.0 track. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese and Swedish.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a Theatrical Trailer.

As I stated above, POINT OF NO RETURN is a competent and entertaining Americanized remake of Luc Besson's 1990 film LA FEMME NIKITA. The Blu-ray presentation is surprisingly strong for an early eighties catalog title. If you are a fan, you can’t go wrong with picking up POINT OF NO RETURN in hi-def.



Point of No Return [Blu-ray] (1993)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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