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Contraband [DVD] [1980] [US Import]

3.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Fabio Testi
  • Directors: Lucio Fulci
  • Format: Colour, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Blue Underground
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002C9DJK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 132,364 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm rather a fan of unpretentious B movies so I thought I'd dip a toe into the lurid world of Italian crime. An evil drug gang attempt to muscle into the distribution network of the Neopolitan cigarette smugglers and are seen off by a team of geriatric old school mafia dons. Plenty of gore and claret all over the shop, some not-very-special effects, including cartoon exploding heads and attack by bunsun burner that wouldn't fool a five year old. Even a simple telephone scene is enlivened by the distracting presence of a naked lady waltzing around in the background in case the audience should become bored.
The dialogue track has a constant irritating buzz as if someone was hoovering in the background and a soft, unremarkable print probably the result of being filmed on 16 mm and blown up to 35 mm.
According to wikipedia the producer ran out of money and the local mafia stepped in to complete the film, as long as certain script changes were made, which means that we have a public relations film promoting the virtues of the old school anti-drug mafia and the smugglers as providing employment opportunities for unemployed residents of Naples.
However, despite its failings, it is a likeable and entertaining watch for indulgent and undemanding fans of Euro crime.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Contraband aka The Smuggler aka The Naples Connection sees Lucio Fulci just phoning it in with a dreary looking and unexciting gangster flick that sees the honourable cigarette smugglers of Naples being picked off by a badly dubbed Marcel Bozzuffi's sadistic Marsigliese, who, along with his hunchbacked chemist who's dubbed by a Peter Lorre impersonator, wants to take over their organisation to run his drugs. It's not helped by the casting of Fabio Testi, as reliably boring and non-dimensional as ever in the lead but also, thanks to age starting to take the edge off the good looks he relied on, starting to look like a bizarre hybrid of Treat Williams, Michael Jayston and William H. Macy. Production values generally aren't that much higher than 70s continental porn - fake blood, obvious dummies, insipid photography and barely rehearsed action scenes are the norm for the first half of the film. Occasionally the prospect of an interesting scene is raised, such as a fight on a tilted ship at low tide, only to be lazily thrown away. There is one good action scene in the film, but unfortunately that's a spaghetti western a bored Mafia don is watching on TV while the younger cast members unenthusiastically go through the motions.

Clearly aware of just how dull the first half of the film is, the gore goes into overdrive just about the time you're tempted to give up on it and see if there's anything decent on TV instead. It's a mixture of the same ridiculous effects that mar the earlier scenes and some not particularly convincing but rather better executed ones as heads get blown off, duplicitous female drug dealers get Bunsen burner facials and our hero's wife gets raped.
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Format: DVD
Lucio Fulci is best known for his gorey horrors, which have become legendary. So it's no surprise that Contraband a mafia movie set in Napoli is no different. Here you will see a woman being tortured by a bunsen burner, several scenes of brains being blown out, a rape and torture scene and the most effective a shot wound right through the neck.

The problem is quite clear- Contraband as a movie isn't all that good. It drags its feet for the first half. None of the characters are engaging, there is no one to root for. The mystery head guy who is bumping off everyone is plain to see. But the most remarkable scene features our 'hero' who is a criminal anyway, who hears his wife being tortured and raped on the phone,all will stop if he agrees to a deal, but no he like us just listens in. So Fulci wanted to shock, but the problem is a shocking scene is just rendered pathetic. Now we don't even have any sympathy for our hero anymore.

By the way anyone effected by strong strobe lights should look away during the spectacular disco scene. This must have looked great at the cinema back in the day.

A pointer for the usually very good Blue Underground. I wished this had been presented in its original language with subtitles. The dubbing is hideous.
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Format: DVD
Contraband further builds Lucio Fulci's reputation as having impeccable talent as a storyteller alongside his other classics Don't Torture a Duckling and New York Ripper. But it is the fact that such a competent professional managed to be also so fiercely unpretentious in regards to taste that has given Fulci such a high status among Italian genre fans. The result is a body of work which include watershed gore, blackly witty humour and some truly astonishing camerawork. The pan before the head lead decimation effect is truly Scorsese level filmmaking as is the strobe lighting sequence in the disco, predating black swan some thirty years. In short, Fulci and the film camera were one, producing visual splendour out of even the most meagre of budgets. Some pacing problems and one incredibly annoying kid prevent this from being a flat out low budget masterpiece, but this still remains a sadly undervalued poliziotteschi thriller.

Shameless' DVD beats out Blue Underground's release slightly with novel packaging and a first ever release of the original Italian audio. But please Shameless, i understand your niche constraints but couldn't we have had at least a booklet possibly containing the Contraband entry from Steven Thrower's 'Beyond Terror' or an interview with Fulci's always informative daughter Antonella. Something similar to your New York Ripper release would make this the invaluable edition of Contraband to Fulci fanatics such as myself no doubt (till the blu ray). Till then, wait till this comes down to seven or eight pounds. Still a must purchase though for all exploitation fans.
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