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Contraband Uncut with Limited Edition Lenticular [DVD]
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Contraband aka The Smuggler is an uncompromising and suspenseful ITALIAN GANGSTER MOVIE by Lucio Fulci - known as the God-Father of gore for his films like NEW YORK RIPPER and THE BEYOND .. Fulci is first and foremost a talented film maker and story teller: here his uncompromising style depicts the ultra violence which permeates the Napolitan underworld.. (where not even GOMORRAH dared to tread..)
Hard-as-nail stalwart Fabio Testi (REVOLVER) stars as Luca, a cigarette smuggler who triggers an eye-popping violent mob war after his brother is shot and his wife kidnapped.
He will face Marcel Bozzufi (the bad guy in of FRENCH CONNECTION!) who co-stars in this depraved mayhem as Fulci unleashes his trade-mark gut-splaterring, brain-exploding, flesh-frying scenes of unimaginable cruelty and carnage.. that will turns the bay of Naples red!
Shameless release of Contraband will be the first ever version of the film fully UNCUT in the UK & will feature an exclusive animation LENTICULAR card bringing to life one of the film most iconic violent scene of the film.
- Animated lenticular card
- English & Italian Audio with English Subtitles
- Alternative Italian Opening Credits - Shameless trailers
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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.
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. But with such a dreary script and such a bland and boring lead, gore and desperate attempts for shock value are all the film has to offer. By the time it ends with an absurd shootout in which various elderly dons stop watching TV and reclaim the streets from the evil French drug dealer and save violated women, you start suspecting the whole film was backed by the Mafia as a money laundering scam. The entire last reel almost feels like you're watching a Party Political Broadcast for the Mafia, with the cops lending them their vote as they make speeches about how the poor of Naples depend entirely on smuggling to make ends meet because there are no jobs. It's pretty desperate stuff, not quite bottom of the barrel but close.
The film was heavily cut in many territories, particularly the UK during the video nasties era, but Blue Underground's region-free US NTSC widescreen DVD is in all its occasionally laughable uncut gory. The picture quality is unexceptional, though that seems to be a problem of the dubbed master material provided (there's only an English language soundtrack) and the dull original cinematography. There are a few warps in the film and one bit of print damage, but it's acceptable. The only extra is an English language international trailer.
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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