“… the movie does well to satisfy that jones-ing for action”
Contraband is an action film set in New Orleans about the world of container ship smuggling. It did rather well at topping the box office it’s opening weekend. Also, many people don’t know this is a remake of an Icelandic film called ‘Reykjavik-Rotterdam’.
The cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Holt, Lukas Haas, David O’Hara, Caleb Landry Jones and JK Simmons. The director of ‘Contraband’, Baltasar Kormákur, was the lead actor playing the same character as Mark Wahlberg.
Chris Faraday (Wahlberg) used to be a smuggler using containers ships to do it. He was the best in the area but retired when he married his Wife Kate (Beckinsale) and wanted to have a family. He now spends his days legit, installing and reinforcing home security.
The movie begins with customs in helicopters and police boats closing in on a container ship in the New Orleans harbor. Because of being boarded by customs, Andy (Jones) and his friend decide they have to pitch 10 pounds of cocaine over overboard. They owe the buy money which is roughly $700k to Tim Briggs (Ribisi). When Tim finds out his drugs are gone, he puts Andy and his friend in the hospital. Against Kate’s wishes, Chris and his good friend Sebastian (Foster) line up a job in Panama to move stacks of paper stock used to make counterfeit bills. Its something they know they can move fast and pay off Andy’s debt. Before that can happen, he needs to get a pretty decent crew on board to help the job go smooth. Chris has his good friend Danny (Haas) be his right hand man in Panama. Right away, Capt. Camp recognizes Chris and tells him he’ll be watching him. As soon as the ship docks, things go very wrong from here.
First off, Giovanni Ribisi gives the strongest performance throughout the film. The authentic performance he gives, really makes you hate him. As for the rest of the cast, they all play the typical characters they’re known for. Wahlberg is the biggest example of playing someone that anyone who has seen his films, has seen before.
Unfortunately, the characters are underdeveloped which affects any attachment to them. Almost as if no matter the consequence of everyone’s actions, there is no worrying about them if they fail.
The concept of the plot is excellent. Where the movie goes wrong is the unbelievable holes in the plot and it’s issues. One of the biggest issues I have is when the Capt. says he knows who Faraday is, I would think he would have him removed from the ship. He’s a notorious smuggler so why keep him on?
The video transfer is superb. It has a larger aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p. The coloring is very toned and contrasts well. This is most noticeable during the scenes and aerial shots in Panama, showcasing this beautiful country. Also, throughout the movie, the overall mood of the film is reflected in the coloring. There is really no colors that really pop except for some work uniforms of the ship’s crew and construction workers.
During the night scenes, the contrast with blacks and the light of the city and ships has been cleanly transferred. There is minimal crushing aside from a noticeable section during the opening raid. All in all, the picture looks nice.
For an action film, it’s a little light on sound. It does have a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack but it doesn’t seem to utilize the audio compression. For example, there is an action scene with gunfire, vehicles, and explosions which should be stronger. However, the ambient sounds during the bar and ship scenes are not consistent.
Includes Blu-ray, DVD, Ultraviolet Digital Copy and standard digital copy
1080p AVC MPEG4
Aspect Ratio- 2.40:1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround
Spanish DTS 5.1 Surround
French DTS 5.1 Surround
English DVS 2.0 Stereo
Special Features include-
Audio Commentary- Producer/Director Baltasar Kormakur and Producer Evan Hayes
Under the Radar: The Making of ‘Contraband’”- a making- of including going over the film, sets, behind the scenes, and the characters.
Reality Factor: The Stunts and Action of ‘Contraband’”- a quick look at the stunts from the film and going over the crash scene and the shoot out.
Exclusive HD Content
This film itself had potential but needs tighter weaving. The plot has holes and has some unrealistic points that if better focused, would have greatly improved the movie. Again, there is really not a point where the characters make you attach or empathize with their situation. It’s rather unfortunate that it never really got off the ground but the movie does well to satisfy that jones-ing for action. As for the release, Universal did an ok job. The video transfer was exceptional but the audio did not rank the same. However, the extras included with the release make it very appealing. Give the film a look and judge it for yourself.