So many different crime capers come out every month in theaters and on DVD that it’s sometimes hard to decide which ones to watch and which ones to avoid. I’m not over saturated by the genre so I enjoy most of the ones I see. “Contraband” is now on my list of films I’d recommend.
The story revolves around ex-smuggler Chris Faraday (Mark Wahlberg), who quit the racket and settled down with his wife (Kate Beckinsale) and two kids to live a normal life. After his brother-in-law (Caleb Landry Jones) dumps a shipment he was bringing in for drug dealers, Chris finds himself drawn back into the underground world of illegal international transportation. He must now make good with the dealers before they come after him and his family.
Award-winning Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur does an excellent job helming big-name stars in a fairly large Hollywood action thriller. Most of his past films are small-scale indie projects made in his country. This is a remake of the original award-winning 2008 Icelandic film “Reykjavik-Rotterdam” which he produced.
The screenplay for the film takes the viewer on an exciting international trip from Panama and back to the U.S. aboard a freight liner. We also get some great car chases and suspenseful shoot outs. There are a few great twists and turns that leave you with your jaw hanging open through parts of the film.
I’ve never had a problem with Mark Wahlberg in any of the films I’ve seen him in. He’s great as the tough guy who reluctantly gets back into the game. Kate Beckinsale does a wonderful job playing his wife. I can’t shake the feeling that she is underused in this because I’m so used to seeing her as Selene in the “Underworld” films. Giovanni Ribisi plays crazy like he always does so well. The rest of the supporting cast including Ben Foster and Lukas Haas all deliver excellently in their roles too.
The high definition video and audio transfer of the film will please consumers. The picture looks clean but keeps a gritty feel and gives the movie the rough atmosphere it requires. The 5.1 surround sound mix keeps the flying bullets screaming between speakers and the explosions and fight sequences booming throughout your home theater.
Extra features on the Blu-ray and DVD version of the movie include deleted scenes, feature commentary with director/producer Baltasar Kormákur and producer Evan Hayes. There are two featurettes entitled “Under the Radar: The Making of ‘Contraband'” and “Reality Factor: The Stunts and Action of ‘Contraband.'” It also comes with an Ultraviolet digital copy of the movie.
The Blu-ray release of “Contraband” will satisfy movie lovers with the amount of special features and a quality feature that will entertain viewers. There’s a lot of pervasive language, a good amount of violence, and some drug use in this. However, it’s no more than what fans of these types of crime thrillers are already used to.
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