Let’s get right to it. Contraband is a movie that has a certain amount of testosterone and that has a profound effect on the overall experience. Our leading man had a life of crime, smuggling, in his younger years and now is a stable family man. He is thrust into a decision, of course, that drags him back in to that life and that’s where we come in to watch the action. There are a lot of ingredients to this recipe that all come together in a kind of fast food plot. It does have a few gourmet touches here and there.
The cast is pretty darn good, kind of organic and raw but coated with too much cheese. Or shall I say cheeeezzzeee? The dialogue is gloppy and gooey and fatted up with too many empty calories so a little goes a very very long way.
The story is the comfort food of the whole movie, anti-hero, charming but with an outlaw’s point of view trying to just get through this life without having to resort back to his old life of crime. All he and his compatriots need is that last big haul. Even if that standard fluffy biscuit of this plot is somewhat different because the gravy it’s smothered in has more spice than Grandma used to make, that’s what makes it satisfying enough.
There are some excellent scenes on a cargo ship. This is something I haven’t seen in many movies, if any now that I think about it. It adds some interest to the movie, a little bit of salt and pepper to what could be an other wise bland scenario. Are you loving the food references? I get kind of neutral about writing these reviews sometimes, particularly when the movie is not something I am completely smitten with, so anything to keep my mind focused. Food usually does the trick. Hmmm was there even any food in this movie? Oh yes, when the standard gathering of the crew, assembling the stereotypical collection of crack-pot members of the perfect team to get the job done. We’ve seen it many times, and this time it’s just as transparent, however, with the rest of the movie being relatively predictable, this isn’t that big of a shocker.
To bring the whole dish together there are a few twists and turns that tweek the expected ingredients enough to keep me from being bored, just not enough to want to go back for a re-watch. This is a movie that keeps moving forward scene by scene, criminals, heists, hopes of that big score to make you the hero dude. I recommend seeing the movie, but bring along some flavorful dipping sauce, like another movie as your second bill, your favorite action movie might do the trick to give you just that little bit more of a satisfying experience.
- Deleted Scenes – Twelve deleted scenes here for your viewing pleasure, none of them really add anything to the vision of the film.
- Under The Radar: The Making Of Contraband – A 17 minute look at the making of the movie, I really like the directors comments here, you also see Kate Beckinsale get covered in concrete.
- Reality Factor: The Stunts & Action Of Contraband – There is a lot of action in the movie and this feature covers that. At 8 minutes long you will be action-ed when it’s over.
- Director & Producer Commentary – Baltasar Kormakur and Evan Hayes (Director & Writer) bring you a full length commentary, the only problem I have is they sound like they want the movie to end so they can leave. You do get a few interesting tidbits of info about this movie compared to the original version.
- U-Control (PIP) – A picture in picture mode that brings pretty straightforward interviews and behind the scenes moments to key parts of the movie.
- DVD & Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 2/10
Ugh. Hero shot with a gun in his hand. Bah humbug. It’s boring and unappealing, therefore I hate it. Hate it. The menu is equally blase. I wouldn’t have the cover as a poster. In fact, I don’t even want that cover stuck between two other Blu-Ray boxes on the shelf in the movie room. Come on people, is this the best you can do?
Audio & Video: 7/10
Certain scenes in Contraband are so dark you might think you need to turn the brightness on your TV up, DON’T do it. The night time scenes here are intentionally crushed to leave your mind wondering who the hell is that and what are they doing. Once the movie moves into daylight detail is exceptional. Every pore on Marky Mark’s face shows, and make up on Beckinsale is revealing. This is an interesting looking film that some people will probably grade down due to the dark look. I assure you though it is intentional.
I had a few issues with audio. Here is a lot of looping in this movie especially in the opening scenes that always takes me out of the experience. There are also a few lines that get blown out by the action. Apart from that though, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track does an admirable job replicating gunfire, large ships, and all the ambiance of a full scale shootout. If you were a fan of this movie theatrically everything you remember is brought over to this home release.
Contraband is a good way to have a night in with an action movie. It’s not brainy or life changing, it’s just a bing bam boom heisty kind of experience. It’s got a tiny bit of extras to offer, but mostly it’s a movie to watch and for that it’s worth a rental price, not much more.
Overall Score 6/10