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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - April, 2012

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Contraband (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-april-2012-contraband

Synopsis

Smuggling mastermind Chris Farraday (Wahlberg) has retired from his life of crime to enjoy retirement with his wife and children.  Unfortunately he's forced back into the business when his brother-in-law runs afoul of a local drug dealer by throwing product into the sea as his ship is searched by customs.  Farraday has to raise $700,000 in two weeks to save his family from certain death.  He signs onto a freighter bound for Panama intending to smuggle counterfeit bills into New Orleans.  With the help of a few fellow crewmembers, he orchestrates a deal which quickly turns sour.  He manages to get the product on board just in the nick of time.  The web of deceit is revealed when he learns his best friend is double-crossing him.  The whole plot seems to go up in smoke but in the end, Farraday has the last laugh and he and his family ride off into the sunset.

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2012, Color, R, 1 hr 50 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Codec: AVC
  • DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsdale, Giovanni Ribisi
  • Directed by: Baltasar Kormakur
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

This film had all the feel of yet another drug movie but it's actually about the smuggling rather than the drug wars we so often see on the screen.  Farraday is a true genius as he comes up with ways to achieve his goals; often adapting on the fly.  He seems almost untouchable as the criminal/superhero.  Giovanni Ribisi plays the quintessential low-life-scumbag-drug-dealer in a superb performance.  He's almost unrecognizable in the part which speaks to his considerable skill as a character actor.  The plot, while not exactly original, has enough twists and turns to keep one entertained.  And the story is pretty easy to follow which is not something I can say about every movie of this kind.  Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

Technical

Transfer quality is first rate with no apparent edge enhancement and consistent contrast levels.  Night scenes are nice and inky with fair shadow detail.  There is some crushing evident but I believe this is intentional.  Color is somewhat drab which I'm sure is also by design since this is gritty stuff.  Film grain is always present in varying degrees.  Detail is superb with sharp textures in closeups and nice delineation of objects in wide shots.

The DTS-HD Master Audio mix is clear and accurate but a little laid back.  This isn't really a shoot-'em-up so I wasn't expecting to be knocked out of my chair.  Surrounds are used sparingly and my sub barely had anything to do.  The music didn't really catch my attention until the end credits when a cover of John Lee Hooker's famous "Boom Boom" came on; pretty cool for this blues fan!

Extras

Special features include deleted scenes, a making-of documentary, an 8-minute short about the stunt work and feature commentary by producers and directors.  Also in the package is the film on DVD and a download code for a digital copy from Ultraviolet cloud service.