Jul 072018
 

Traffik was a surprisingly effective thriller though mainly for the performance from its lead, and producer, Paula Patton more so than the writing or attempts at being a message film about sex trafficking, for which there are better films that do a better job.

 

 

Traffik
(2018)

Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Drama
Lionsgate | R – 98 min. – $34.99 | July 17, 2018

Date Published: 07/07/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Deon Taylor
Writer(s): Deon Taylor (written by)
Cast: Paul Patton, Omar Epps, Laz Alonso, Roselyn Sanchez, Luke Goss, Missi Pyle, William Fichtner
DISC INFO:
Features: Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: NA
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 3.5/5


Note: This portion of the review does contain some plot spoilers, so please beware.

Paula Patton is perhaps one of the more criminally underrated actresses working today. She’s proven both a dramatic and action prowess in such projects like Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (hope to see her again in the series) and the 2012 ensemble, Disconnect. Even when the material might not be up to snuff, she’s able to carry the film. Such is the case with Traffik, a movie that is by no means great, yet Patton’s charisma helps negate some of the stilted dialogue and haphazard portrayal of the real world issue with sex trafficking in the United States and abroad.

Paula Patton plays journalist Brea who is set to take a romantic trip with boyfriend John (OMAR EPPS) to a secluded house gifted by John’s friend, athlete agent Darren (LAZ ALONSO) who is also dating Brea’s best friend Malia (ROSELYN SANCHEZ). The trip starts out rough with a run-in with a biker gang and Brea’s encounter with a terrified young woman named Clara (DAWN OLIVIERI) at a rest stop.

Afterward, and narrowing escaping pursuit by one of the bikers, they manage to arrive to the palatial home where John plans to propose. But before anything can happen, Darren and Malia drop in unexpectedly. During the dinner, a phone rings from Brea’s purse and surmises the woman she encountered had slipped it in and using a clue Clara gave, are unable to unlock it, revealing disturbing photos of abused women and conclude that it is part of a human trafficking ring.

A ring at the front door finds Clara wanting the phone back and unsurprisingly, she’s not alone. As Brea is unwilling to give the phone back, even going so far as to give her own phone to Darren to give back (kind of a shitty move), the bad guys reveal themselves, led way by Red (LUKE GOSS) who will do anything to get the phone back and kill any witnesses. Now it’s up to Brea and John to elude Red and company and to also expose the trafficking ring.

Traffik isn’t a movie that breaks new ground or really touches on a subject that hasn’t been dealt before, Trade and Eden (even with how true of a story that was) did a better job at it, whereas this is more focused on being a thriller first with some minor commentary towards the end, again, through some shoddy dialogue. But taken as a thriller? Not bad and that’s thanks in large part to Paula Patton who continues to be able to balance being a believable ass-kicker with the vulnerability to make her a compassionate character, even when said character made a questionable decision (i.e. giving Darren the wrong phone almost assuring his demise), which she never really reflects on, though I guess someone like Darren who was a self-centered ass-hat.

The other actors were perfectly fine. Omar Epps reminds me that he can be a charming dude and probably deserves to be seen more (he’s currently on the USA series Shooter); Laz Alonso and Roselyn Sanchez roles were a bit underwritten and add little to the movie; Missi Pyle similarly doesn’t get much to do early before her big “twist”; and William Fichtner has a good 5-minutes of screen time so if you’re a fan, might not want to bother. Last Luke Goss I guess plays the evil antagonist role well enough even if it is a stock villain part.

The movie was written and directed by Deon Taylor whose only work I’m familiar with was the, based on my review, atrocious Chain Letter horror movie. For Traffik, it is adequately directed I suppose and the pacing was at least on-point, even if his screenplay could’ve used another pass to tighten up on the dialogue.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5


This release comes with a glossy slip cover, inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. There are only two featurettes: Journey into the Depths: Making Traffik (16:09; HD) and Deon & Dante: The Look of Traffik (8:28; HD) each provide some behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with members of the cast and crew either discussing the origins of the project and characters or the cinematography.

PreviewLove Beats Rhymes

 


VIDEO – 4.5/5


Traffik comes to Blu-ray through Lionsgate, presented with a 2.40 aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). The picture quality here looks pretty good, detail is sharp throughout and colors, during the daylight scenes are vibrant while the nighttime shots showcase solid black levels.

AUDIO – 4.5/5


The movie comes with a standard yet effective DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which shows off both the crisp and clear dialogue coming from the center channel as well as the wonderful soundtrack which sadly cannot be found anywhere except for the end credits song… But I digress, there is nice depth here for the general thrilling scenes that include gunfire, screams, yells and other elements.

 


OVERALL – 4.0/5


Overall, Traffik was a surprisingly effective thriller though mainly for the performance from its lead, and producer, Paula Patton more so than the writing or attempts at being a message film about sex trafficking, for which there are better films that do a better job. Even so, this is at least worthy of rental. The Blu-ray itself has excellent video/audio transfers however so-so bonus features.

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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