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Contraband (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=242556&d=1333476925"
The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373697

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373697

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

91






Studio and Year: Universal Studios - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 110 minutes
Genre: : Action, Crime, Drama


Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, French, Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi and Kate Beckinsale
Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur
Music by: Clinton Shorter
Written by: Aaron Guzikowski (screenplay), Arnaldur Indriðason (film "Reykjavik-Rotterdam")
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 24, 2012







"What would you hide to protect your family?"



Film Synopsis:

To protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord, a former smuggler heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills.




My Take:

Contraband- the film that proves counterfeit money does indeed make Mark Wahlberg itchy. Sorry, I had to; what a terrible cover this one has. Thankfully the movie was not as bad a word of mouth indicated, but don't get your hopes up too high as this is a super routine action flick with all the clichés and less of the brains the best have to offer. Marky Mark Wahlberg plays John Bryce, ex-smuggler extraordinary. He left the life behind and is now a family man. Too bad his wifes (Kate Beckensale) younger brother has fallen in with some baddies and the last deal he was in on went awry. In order to protect hes Brother-In-Law and threats against his family, Bryce decides to do one more smuggle. This time he and his partner Sebastian (Ben Foster) will go to Panama and get a huge score of counterfeit money. This will payback his family's debt and end his career once and for all.

The good, the bad and the ugly. I was super surprised with Giovanni Ribisi here. He usually annoys me to no end when playing anything remotely tough, but I must admit to digging him here as a main baddie. Kate is great eye candy as always, and has a convincing accent, even though it isn't quite, nor are any of the characters, bayou enough for its down low Louisianan port location. Chop-wise Ben Foster steals the show as he always seems to do. Isn't it time he got a big part?? This guy can carry a flick..trust me. Marky Mark was himself, as he always is; passable but never inspiring.

Where things get bad are once we leave the US and this suspense/drama become a balls out action flick with the brains blown right out of it. Too many flicks these days start off with promise then decide to just show the budget and forget the good idea's had going for it. Thankfully it looked and sounded awesome, otherwise after the first 50 minutes this would have been a waste of time. Action junkies are sure to dig it, but don't expect a challenging plot or multi-dimensional characters. Kill em' all!








Parental Guide:

Rated R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 92



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373694

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373697

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697


Video: 90


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Contraband comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24.6 mbps and DTS-HD Master Audio sound that has a average bitrate of 4.2 mbps

Just like that super hot girl, Contraband is lacking the brains but sure has the beauty. In this case it sure is worth spending two hours with her. The film has a slightly stylized look that popped with lightly blown out contrast in lighter scenes and lots of darker shots that had great shadow detail and inky blacks. Colors seemed a bit subdued, but this was all part of the intended look. Fine details were visible all over the screen and combined with a palpable amount of celluloid grain that created a well defined and visually interesting viewing experience. The DTS-HD 5.1 track is aggressive and sexy. During scenes of outrageous action the mix keeps track of what is happening on the screen with amazing precision. Surround activity is as impressive, always making you fell like you are in the heat of the battle. LFE is unforgiving and the films sonic power made this one of my favorite tracks. This is surely a keeper for its A/V quality.



Bonus Features:


  • Audio Commentary With Director/Producer Baltasar Kormákur and Producer Evan Hayes

  • (HD) Reality Factor: The Stunts and Action of Contraband

  • (HD) Under The Radar: Making Of Contraband

  • (HD) U-Control Picture-in-Picture

  • (HD) Deleted Scenes

  • Mobile features

  • UV digital copy

  • DVD copy

  • BD-Live

  • D-Box




Final Thoughts:

Contraband is a super routine action flick with all the clichés and less of the brains the best have to offer. Thankfully it has superlative A/V quality that helps make its mindless final act a bit more digestable. This is one pumping soundtrack that will make you giddy with a properly calibrated system. As for supplemental material we have 3 short docs and a commentary track if you are so inclined. Also, for those who cant get enough there is an included DVD for the car and a digital copy for the mobile device. Yay, you can watch Contraband everywhere you go! For those who collect flicks based on its tech merits, give this a buy, all else queue it up for a popcorn action night. Just remember the 80s when they really knew how to make an action flick!






attachment.php?attachmentid=157497&d=1257542613







Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews




Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS45 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector
Screen Innovations Solar HD 1.3 120" 2.40:1 CinemaScope Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 Pre/Pro
Sunfire Theater Grand 7201 Amplifier
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
MK Sound S-150MKII LCR
MK Sound S-150T Tripole Surrounds
MK Sound MX-350MKII Subwoofer
post #2 of 25
Great review!! Although I seem to enjoy some of Mark Whalberg's performances more than you, I absolutely agree about Ben Foster. He definitely got some grit and have the ability to pull one's attention on him.

Can't wait to get that one.

cheers
post #3 of 25
Thanks Lee, I look forward to adding this to my collection!
post #4 of 25
I love Mark Wahlberg. Not my favorite movie of his but definitely will be grabbing this. Thanks for the review, happy to see it got some good scores!
post #5 of 25
Greetings,

Thanks Lee. Nice review..

Regards,
post #6 of 25
I wasn't to sure if i should rent it,but after seeing this i might. But,really action films gotta have plot!.
post #7 of 25
yeah - I'm the same way. Generally speaking MW makes some pretty good action movies - a few duds along the way. But generally, pretty good. If it's anything close to The Shooter, I'm gettin it.
post #8 of 25
I will be getting this as I enjoy Mark Wahlberg films. I know will like it.
post #9 of 25
I didnt like this movie. I can see what is coming already and too obvious.
post #10 of 25
Yeah, probably mindless action, but I can't resist Mark and Ben together so it will be a buy for me.
post #11 of 25
Classic action flick. Will definitely buy.
post #12 of 25
Thanks for your reviews Lee, definitely going to get this one. BB has it for $19.99.
post #13 of 25
In general, I'm a big M.W. fan but not him in this movie.
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostsup View Post

Thanks for your reviews Lee, definitely going to get this one. BB has it for $19.99.

don't forget the dvd trade-in program. For details and discussion, please refer to this thread



http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1406538

since we don't want to turn the review thread into a "deals" discussion
post #15 of 25
Oh boy. This movie was awful.
Throughout the film, all I could think of was how much ADR was done to try to help the story along. Ie - while in the counterfeiters compound, there seemed to be a deliberate attempt of not showing the actors mouths moving in dialogue by shooting long and wide and over the shoulder of the talent.
To me this just screamed post dialogue patchwork.
Oh well, you know what they say about putting lipstick on a pig.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostsup View Post

Thanks for your reviews Lee, definitely going to get this one. BB has it for $19.99.

Use the Best Buy trade-in promotion and pick it up for only $14.99.
I got my copy today.
Love this action flick and with great a/v quality on BD makes this a must buy!
post #17 of 25
This didn't suck as bad as I thought it would. I kinda liked it.
post #18 of 25
Marky Mark's got his niche going with this kind of film.
post #19 of 25
Watched this. Terribly slow paced film.

The DTS 5.1 audio was flat and dull. It sounded like it was compressed with no dynamics - even in the gun battle. I found LFE quite limited. I'd have rated the audio about 75 - this is way off from Lee's review but the Blockbuster rental disc sounded terrible.
post #20 of 25
This movie seemed to me at least to have quite a few noticeable loose ends in the plot that weren't quite explained that well. It was like the director just said to hell with trying to tie it all together cohesively. It just kinda jumped around without completely explaining how or why certain things happened or progressed. And then the last 20 minutes or so seemed cheap and superficial.

I agree with you thebland on the audio.
post #21 of 25
I've been waiting for this one to drop in price a little because I do like Wahlberg and Beckinsale, but with the mixed opinions about this movie a rental might be more appropriate in my case.

Thanks, Lee, for taking the time to review it for us! cool.gif
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozar View Post

I've been waiting for this one to drop in price a little because I do like Wahlberg and Beckinsale, but with the mixed opinions about this movie a rental might be more appropriate in my case.
Thanks, Lee, for taking the time to review it for us! cool.gif

Greetings,

I have seen it ozar. RENT! wink.gif

Regards,
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,
I have seen it ozar. RENT! wink.gif

Okay then, seeing as how I'm very much in agreement with about 90% or more of your reviews, your advice sounds highly appropriate for me!

Thanks, Ralph! cool.gif
post #24 of 25
I will be giving this a viewing tonight. Hopefully ill enjoy it.
post #25 of 25
Watched it last night, wasn't too bad. Not bad cast, don't mind walhberg, Ribisi and bekinsale. Though doesn't hold any replay value for me.

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