HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Precious Cargo
HTS Overall Score:67
Direct to Video flicks are a dime a dozen these days. It takes 10-15 million to make the movie and then they rake in 20+ million on home video sales, feeding the circle of life and propagating the genre with even more and more low-budget enterprises. Some of them are actually pretty decent, some are downright awful, and others just make you want to scratch your eyes out. I made the assumption from just looking at the cover that Bruce Willis was going to sleep walk his way through “Precious Cargo”, and I was definitely not proven wrong. It’s a mediocre action movie that stars a few washed up actors from the 90s and a few no name wannabes in a story that feels like it was written by 3rd graders. It’s one of those movies that’s soooooooooooooo badly written that I was actually laughing hysterically at the ineptitude of the “witty” dialog that we are privy to.
Jack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) is just your average, every day, run of the mill weapons smuggler. He buys guns, he trades them to bad people, his comrades shoot the people who double cross him, and he does his best to woo a young animal trainer on the side. The problem is that he’s kind of not told her that he’s a gun smuggler. His happy little house of cards comes crashing down around him when ex-girlfriend Karen (Claire Forlani of “The Rock” and “Mallrats”) crashes his little romantic rendezvous and brings some VERY bad men in her wake. It seems that she ticked Eddie (Bruce Willis), one of the most dangerous crime lords around, and he’s after her hide. So she of course comes back to the one person who can help her out. Only this time she’s pouting, pregnant and has a price on her head.
Not able to say no to his old flame, Jack has to come up with a plan to save Karen AND himself at the same time. Well, that and hopefully make off with about $500 million worth of illegal diamonds in the process. Now it’s time to assemble his old team and get those diamonds before Eddie’s hitmen catch up to them and decide that their lives are worth squat. Diamonds or no diamonds.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=73833[/img]Hitmen, bad one liners and bears oh my! “Precious Cargo” tries SOOOOOOOOO very hard to be a late 90s action movie. Ironically starring two people who were IN a couple of late 90’s action movies. The grungy rock music score, the sarcastic one liners, the over the top gun battles. Even the color grading seemed to scream that this wasn’t shot in 2016. However, just because it WANTS to be like those awesome 90s cheese fests, “Precious Cargo” is just plain cheesy. The dialog is written to appeal to action junkies, but the stilted delivery and atrociously bad timing make them hysterically wince worthy. I actually laughed AT the actors and dialog more often than I ever did with the jokes. Mark-Paul Gosselaar” actually doesn’t make too bad of an action star, but the low budget cast makes him rather weak, as they don’t compliment him in any way shape or form. In fact the only character who stands out as being rather good is marital artist, Daniel Bernhardt as Eddie’s lead hitman (his dialog with a blonde bimbo piece of eye candy is the highlight of the movie).
Willis doesn’t really do anything, and like usual, is in the film for roughly 5-10 minutes. Delivering his lines with monotone deliver and OBVIOUS boredom, he makes for a very lackluster villain. Or at least a villain who’s literally doing this for the few hundred grand tosses his way to be in the film and then roll over and catch a few Z’s before his flight home. While there’s a few spots where he cracks a smile and actually puts forth a minute or so of effort, his inclusion in the movie is merely fan service and serves no purpose in moving the simple plot forward. Only real fun parts of the 90 minute actioneer is watching things blow up and the end battle between Mark-Paul and Daniel Bernhardt, and even that is slightly disappointing as Bernhardt’s trademark martial arts abilities are hampered by choppy editing and horrible camera work.
Rated R for language throughout, some violence and sexual material
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=73841[/img]If you’ve seen one DTV action flick, you’ve seen them all. “Precious Cargo” comes to Blu-ray with a standard looking digital transfer in 2.40:1 AVC. Colors are bright and rather warm, with a definite push towards the amber end of the visual spectrum. Fine detail is pleasing enough, with the good old plastic surgery marks on Claire Forlani’s face plainly visible, as well as the more intimate clothing details. Black levels are nice enough, with solid shadow detailing for the most part, occasionally plagued by a little bit of digital noise and mild banding. It’s not an overly glossy transfer, and not going to stun the critics and win awards for the cinematography, but the film is competently shot (except for the action sequences) and looks impressive on Blu-ray.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=73849[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track mirrors the video encodes pleasant, but not overly stunning, presentation. You can tell the film was shot on the cheap and the lack of a truly immersive and surround intensive experience proves that theory right. The dialog is strong and crisp, with great front presence, but most of the more robust parts of the movie don’t really light up the back speakers that much. Much of the gunshots and speed boat chases, etc, stay in the front three speakers, except for the grungy rock score and a few bullets whizzing overhead. LFE is tight and strong, but not going to blow your socks off with low end punch. The track is pleasing and definitely does the job well, it’s just not AS engaging and awe inspiring as other low budget actioneers.
• “The Making of Precious Cargo” Featurette
• Cast/Crew Interviews
“Precious Cargo” is not exactly the greatest DTV film on the market today. In fact it’s not even a good film, or even a tolerable film. There are some fun spots, but those spots are marred by moronic dialog, and horrible action choreography. I was laughing WAY too hard at a movie that honestly felt like it was trapped in the wrong decade. Sure there’s guns, knives, explosions and hot women, but that doesn’t exactly an engaging movie make. Audio and video are solid and pleasant enough for a cheaply shot DTV film, but the extras are a tad weak. While I’m sure there’s some people out here who will like the movie, most people will just be better off skipping it entirely.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Claire Forlani
Directed by: Max Adams
Written by: Max Adams, Paul Vs. Seetachitt
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 90 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Buy Precious Cargo On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It.
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