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In the frenetic underbelly of Los Angeles, Agent Maxwell closes in on an international cocaine smuggling operation run by criminal mastermind Vincent Camastra. When Agent Beverly Royce goes undercover with the drug dealers and finds herself deeper then she can handle - the case becomes personal for Maxwell who has to combat ruthless killers and dirty cops in an all-out action filled finale to bring the criminals to justice.
For more about Ambushed and the Ambushed Blu-ray release, see Ambushed Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on November 4, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Vinnie Jones, Randy Couture, Daniel Bonjour, Gianni Capaldi
Director: Giorgio Serafini
» See full cast & crew
Ambushed Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, November 4, 2013
Does any of this sound familiar?
1. A couple of low-level drug dealers are forced into a larger-stakes game by a particularly nasty overlord.
2. One of them sports a British Isles accent.
3. The other is in love with a girl who simply cannot exist in his shadier drug world.
4. A corrupt cop on the case.
5. The filmmaker behind it all seems to believe his movie will be the next big Tarantino-like experience, the next Snatch, or the next "hipster" or "too cool for film school" movie, all the while infusing it with "artsy" split screens and other out-of-the-ordinary tools to tell the story.
Anyone who has followed the Crime/Drug sub-genres over the past decade or so will probably answer "yes, that sounds familiar" to most, if not all, of those core characteristics. Ambushed incorporates them all and makes them the centerpieces of a paint-by-numbers plot that's all too familiar from the get-go but that somehow manages a slight spark of entertainment despite its mountain of cliché. It's not a total loss, fortunately -- it's suitably well done and enjoys a few decent performances -- but it's nevertheless the proverbial "watch and forget" sort of movie that offers no redeeming value or satisfaction beyond the immediate, and even that's a bit dubious considering that sheer lack of originality within.
Frank (Daniel Bonjour) has made quite the name for himself in the California underworld. His strip joint is a booming success and he's pushing a good number of drugs. He has his topside life on track, too. He's dating the beautiful Ashley (Cinthya Bornacelli), a girl who's largely Frank's antithesis. She's a good girl, a family girl, the type of girl with whom a man dreams of settling down and making a life. Unfortunately, business keeps getting in the way. Frank and his partner Eddie (Gianni Capaldi) find themselves in deep trouble when their supplier is shot dead. A meeting with drug lord Vincent (Vinne Jones) leaves them alive but deeply in his debt and with only a short window of opportunity to prove their worth. With a trio of cops on the case, including homicide detective Jack Reiley (Randy Couture), a DEA agent named Maxwell (Dolph Lundgren), and an asset on the inside of Frank and Eddie's operation, it's only a matter of time before Frank's entire world blows up around him.
Ambushed plays around with a slew of unoriginal, largely unimaginative story arcs. It's all rather bland, particularly as it deals with the seedy underbelly of the underground drug business, largely because it's something that's been seen time and time before. Ambushed certainly brings nothing new to the scene, favoring genre routine over creativity. The film does find a bit of a spark, however, in its depiction of the relationship between Frank and Ashley. The dynamic is again nothing new -- bad guy falls for a good girl, bad guy can handle himself in a dangerous drug deal but cannot comfortably sit down across from girl's parents at the dinner table -- but Daniel Bonjour and Cinthya Bornacelli handle it nicely enough and sell the relationship's evolution with an air of plausibility. Bonjour's ability to balance the scenes and show the balance his character strives to attain is easily the film's best asset. It's certainly not worth the price of admission, but in a movie manufactured by-the-book it's at least a glimpse of something positive in an otherwise unremarkable film.
The other major strike against the movie is the relative lack of its poster boy stars. It's not as bad as some DTV movies that plaster a name and face on the poster or cover art only to leave them nearly invisible for the duration; Jones, Lundgren, and Couture appear with some, albeit limited, frequency. Nevertheless, they're not the true stars of the movie. But, their names sell, not "Bonjour" and "Capaldi." Nevertheless, this is Bonjour and Capaldi's film, make no mistake about it, but the movie finds a decent enough balance and ensures that the stars at least play critical secondary roles. There's also rather limited action to be found. This isn't a standard shoot-'em-up but instead a more dramatically oriented picture with elements of action woven into the plot, not vice versa. Along the way, the film manages to introduce a few natural and interesting twists and turns that keep the picture from succumbing completely to basic device. It's not enough to save the film, but audiences will appreciate the bits of somewhat surprising developments that shape the movie beyond stock dialogue and situations. Nevertheless, Ambushed never escapes the overall staleness that hangs around it, but as far as these sort of drugs-oriented DTV films go, this one isn't the worst of the bunch, not by a long shot.
Ambushed Blu-ray, Video Quality
Ambushed features a rather standard HD video-sourced Blu-ray transfer. Generally, the image is fine, offering well-defined details and bold colors. Clothing and facial lines appear nicely textured, while the image picks up a good bit of accurate detailing on city building exteriors, rusty iron fire escapes, and other odds-and-ends that reveal prominent visual elements. The color palette enjoys a good bit of diversity, from natural greens to blue-dyed hair. Colors are fairly bold and even across the board. Flesh tones appear accurate, and black levels are notably deep and honest. The image does suffer from an overall flatness that's not uncommon to lower budget HD video pictures. The image also reveals some intermittent aliasing, which is particularly severe in some of the more heavily processed establishing shots. Light banding and noise and a few smeary edges are also evident. Overall, however, the pluses far outweigh the minuses and help define a fairly average but nevertheless enjoyable HD image.
Ambushed Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Ambushed arrives on Blu-ray with an enjoyable and well-engineered Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Certainly, there's nothing remarkable here, but everything appears in place and the track proves suitably dynamic and even. Musical notes, particularly the robust Hip-Hop beats that open the movie, enjoy generous spacing, honest surround support, deep supportive bass, and excellent clarity. Action effects, too, share those same qualities; gunshots in particular ring out with a fair bit of oomph and accuracy. Background ambient effects help to pull the listener into the film, whether well-defined street-level city atmosphere or the background din inside a crowded bar. Dialogue plays accurately and evenly from the center channel. This is a solid all-around performer from Anchor Bay.
Ambushed Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Ambushed contains one supplement. Behind the Scenes: AMBUSHED (HD, 15:02) takes a look at the Lundgren-Couture dynamic on screen and off, Vinnie Jones' part in the film, the Frank and Eddie portions of the story, Giorgio Serafini's direction, the picture's style and genre, favorite scenes, character traits, actor influences, and more. The filmmakers acknowledge it's meant more as a fun, escapist film rather than an original work of art. A DVD copy is also included in the case.
Ambushed Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Considering all the unoriginality that gives it its basic shape, Ambushed probably couldn't have been much better. On the flip side, it could be much worse. A few enjoyable character dynamics, decent performances, a fair pacing, and a plot that isn't needlessly complicated all keep the movie out of the trash heap but aren't, even collectively, enough to overwhelm the recycled plot and stock characters. Nevertheless, it makes for a serviceable time killer from which genre fans should expect very little beyond the basics. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of Ambushed enjoys good video and audio. One supplement is included. Rent it on a slow day.
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Ambushed Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Ambushed - November 8, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Anchor Bay Films are offering three members the opportunity to win a copy of director Giorgio Serafini's Ambushed, starring Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Vinnie Jones, Daniel Bonjour and Gianni Capaldi. The crime thriller arrives on Blu-ray on ...
• Ambushed (2013) Blu-ray - September 9, 2013
Anchor Bay Films has announced the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack release of director Giorgio Serafini's Ambushed (2013), starring Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Vinnie Jones, Daniel Bonjour and Gianni Capaldi. The crime thriller arrives on Blu-ray on November 12th.
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