Christopher B. Stokes is the king of Tubi originals — his directorial efforts The Stepmother, The Stepmother 2, Best Friend, The Assistant, Howard High and You’re Not Alone all appear on the channel — and he frequently works with Marques Houston as both star and writer, with this film being evidence of how well they mesh.
Brian Nelson (Houston) was once on the fast track to being a high-powered attorney. Then his life fell to pieces when Oscar, one of his clients, took a hostage and started calling for him. The police allowed him to visit Oscar during his standoff, which ends with the man killing the girlfriend who slept around on him and then killing himself.
In the two years in between, Brian hasn’t been doing so well. Lynette (Lyrica Anderson), the wife that so obviously loved him has left him — she’s making out with a guy, asking for a foot rub and promising a meal of lobster and mashed potatoes when Brian rolls by and knocks that dude out — and he barely sees his daughter Karla (Victoria Nuckles).
Oscar’s brother, a drug dealer from his old neighborhood named Anthony Santiago (Beau Casper Smart), is about to go on trial for a double murder of his wife Carmen and her lover, Vincent Capprilla. Brian is forced into taking the case, with his estranged family being threatened if he doesn’t defend a man who seems guilty.
And yet things aren’t always how they appear.
This case even brings our protagonist into the orbit of the Luciano family, with Victor (Al Sapienza, Mikey Palmice from The Sopranos) explaining to him just how important it is that he gets Anthony out of his legal predicament. That may be near impossible, as Anthony refuses to even come up with an alibi, even when others try to give him one, and still insists that somehow Brian save him from death row.
Anthony and Brian share something of a friendship, even if he’s ruined his already ruined life, and in flashbacks, you can see how there was something of a level of trust between them. And it’s intriguing that Anthony feels badly for how Brian’s life has turned out and claims that he never intended to threaten his family. But that guy with a gun to his head named Zulu (Six Reasons) may say differently.
By the end of the film, Brian’s dodging attackers in the court room, his family is being held by criminals and he’s still having to pledge this case against Melissa (Judi Johnson), the talented attorney for the people. But even if he does pull it off, Anthony doesn’t like loose ends. What he doesn’t count on is that Brian came from the same place he did and knows how to play rough too.
No Way Out is a pretty fun thriller with a hero who keeps seeing the best in people no matter how horribly they treat him. Here’s to more films with Stokes and Houston together, as they really know how to entertain and Smart makes for a wonderfully nuanced villain.
You can watch this on Tubi.