Plot: What’s it about?
Frank (Daniel Bonjour) is a drug dealer who hides his criminal life and plans to someday settle down, using his ill gotten gains to begin a normal life. After years of dangerous deals and rubbing shoulders with brutal players, Frank has finally engineered his big score and is now ready to exit the game forever. He is going to marry his conservative girlfriend, start a family, and leave his days in the drug trade in the distance. Of course, things don’t go as smoothly as Frank planned. His big score involves a ruthless kingpin, Vincent (Vinnie Jones) and between Vinnie’s brutal nature and the ever present threat of the authorities, Frank’s retirement is anything but certain. A DEA Agent (Dolph Lundgren) is hot on the case and sees a chance to make a huge dent in the trade, while a corrupt police officer (Randy Couture) wants to bust the deal as well, but only to line his own pockets. As these driven forces head toward a collision, will anyone survive and what will become of their intricate plans?
A recent trend in action movies has been to collect several genre stars instead of a lone featured performer, based mostly on the success of the ensemble driven The Expendables series. So in Ambushed, we have 80s action icon Dolph Lundgren, MMA veteran Randy Couture, and notorious hard man Vinnie Jones, not a bad trio for a direct-to-video release. While these three are featured on the case however, they’re not the central focus of Ambushed. Instead they’re supporting characters and the primary spotlight is on Daniel Bonjour. So if you tune in to see the action stars, you won’t get as much screen time out of them as you might expect. The movie wants to be a dark crime thriller with action elements, but the pieces never really roll into place. You can tell this was just a paycheck for the well known stars, as their performances are basically phoned in. A couple of bright spots occur, but not enough to make Ambushed work. So even if you just want some mindless action, you can find much better elsewhere. I wanted to like Ambushed, especially being a Lundgren fan, but I can’t recommend this one.
Video: How’s it look?
Ambushed is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. This transfer is solid, but some of the visual design choices keep it from the usual crystal clear, razor sharp look that high definition can offer. Even so, the film looks like it was intended to and above all else, that is what matters. The image has a slightly washed out appearance, but detail is still above what a standard definition release could offer, to be sure. The colors and contrast also reflect the washed out visual design, so they’re not what you’d typically expect, but they do look as the filmmakers wanted. So the movie looks good and just how the creators intended.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack is good, but not great. While marketed as an action movie, Ambushed isn’t explosive in terms of set pieces or sound design. The surrounds get used often, but the results aren’t overly memorable, in terms of power or execution. I’d put it more like the track just gets louder at times, to emphasize the action on screen. The music comes through well, while dialogue is clear and never a concern. In the end, a passable, but also forgettable soundtrack. This release also includes English and Spanish subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes a behind the scenes featurette.