• Ambushed



    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: November 12, 2013.
    Director: Giorgio Serafini
    Cast: Daniel Bonjour, Gianni Capaldi, Dolph Lundgren, Vinnie Jones, Randy Couture
    Year: 2013
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    The Movie:

    Cut to the chase.

    AMBUSHED is a lame film. It is also quite the masterpiece of deceptive marketing. Pasting those oh-so-appealing pics of non-stars Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, and Vinnie Jones in a neat circle on the Blu ray cover might work for a couple of impulse buys at the last of the left standing video stores or Best Buy but once the internet spreads the word all bets are off.

    Frank (Daniel Bonjour) is the kind of douchey character that was annoying back in the first wave of appalling Tarantino clones that washed ashore in the 90's. Good looking in a bland way and smarmy as hell he's pitched as being "edgy" because he's a coke dealer and strip club owner even though he frankly looks about twenty years old. Of course there are plenty of very young drug dealers but they generally don't look and act like mama's boys with a GQ fetish. Bonjour, as an actor, has all the menace and gravitas of a slightly rambunctious puppy - so when we see him cold-bloodedly execute two drug suppliers the viewer's natural instinct is to laugh. He's also got a "quirky" (Quentin? Call your lawyer!) business associate/bro for life named Eddie (Gianni Capaldi) who comes replete with OTT Scottish accent and a vapidly pretty "good girl" girlfriend Ashley (Cinthya Bornacelli - straight out of Italian American Princess central casting).

    The basic plot is the usual cribbed together rubbish. Frank wants to make a couple of big scores and get out of the business and marry his sweetheart (who has no idea of his real work - she's quite the dumbbell since Frank seems to live in a swanky crash pad with hot girls clearly coked up). His William Wallace idolizing Scot pal wants to keep making scores and it all comes to a head when this idiot crew first run afoul of crime boss Vinnie Jones and then a crooked cop (Couture - exhibiting some impressive menace in his limited screen time) and finally Lundgren's DEA agent and his female partner. How long until this all comes to a very bad end? The suspense won't be killing you.

    This stuff was stale when it was called TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES N.M. and was better played out as THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE DEAD. Well over ten years ago. And this thing shouldn't even be allowed in the company of a RUNNING SCARED (the Paul Walker flick). The slate of charges is long - criminal misuse of solid action stars, a bad running voiceover from our lead character, unnecessary and annoying shakycam abuse, 'look at me ma' splitscreen, clumsily executed shootouts - these are just the beginning. While other recent DTV offerings like ONE IN THE CHAMBER and FORCED TO FIGHT and THE PACKAGE aren't going to win any originality awards at least they managed to properly use their action star assets and especially in Dolph's case, make them shine with cleverly quirky writing. Dolph is an action genre international treasure and he's utterly wasted here. One or two decent fights and the rest is him sitting in a parked car or butt parked in an office. Jones is doing his evil thug Brit default but he's a pro at this and Couture probably fares best. He's got the nastiest and most complex character and he does well with it. The Scottish coke dealer is amusing - but after PULP FICTION I'm burnt on this trope. Overall AMBUSHED just doesn't get the most basic things right in this genre.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    AMBUSHED looks fine. The 1080p 2.35:1 transfer is what you'd expect from a recent and decently budgeted feature. Image is clear and strong with special note on the detail seen in facial features - the woefully underutilized craggy mugs of Jones and Couture look appropriately Bronsonesque. No irregularities were obvious in the digital image either. Some desaturation and garish lighting is present in some scenes but that is just the way this was shot.

    Audio is a very good Dolby TrueHD 5.1 that delivers the lossless goods. Gunshots have plenty of crack on both ends and music and dialog are well-balanced. The 5.1 sound field is well used without resorting to unneeded audio trickery. This is a solid if unremarkable track.

    The extras consist solely of a ffteen minute making-of doc that frankly makes better use of the dynamic action trio than the movie itself. The director tries to downplay any pretensions he had towards making "art" in this piece - I would have settled for decent entertainment.

    The Final Word:

    Not recommended. AMBUSHED gets very little right and since we are living in an almost golden age of decent DTV action films it shouldn't be too hard to find something more worthy of your time.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!