One Way Out (1996)

Rating: C+

Dir: Kevin Lynn
Star: Jack Gwaltney, Jeff Monahan, Annie Golden, Robert Turano

This obscurity does not feature Michael Ironside as the cover pic implies – I’d guess he was on set for one, maybe two days. His sleazy gas-station owner is pivotal, however, since his death sets off a cross-country crime spree, from New York almost to the Mexican border. There’s Frank (Gwaltney), recently out of jail and trying to save his family home from foreclosure, his idiot brother Snooky (Turano), plus former cellmate Bobby and his stripper girlfriend. Oh, and the fiancee of the local sheriff, kidnapped in their first robbery, who finds a life of criminal excitement to her liking.

This isn’t the most optimistic movie, morality coming down firmly in the “crime doesn’t pay” camp. However, while never expecting a happy ending, you still want to see exactly how things pan out. There’s little character development over the course of events, save the kidnappee’s Stockholm Syndrome change from victim to participant, and there are some plot holes – after all these robberies, why are they still sleeping in the car? Surely it’d be less suspicious for one of them to get a motel room. Still, for something obviously made on a low budget, it has punch, not least the final moments. They may be what you anticipated, but have no less impact for it.