Contraband review

Baltasr Komakur
Mark Wahlberg
Ben Foster
Kate Beckinsale
Giovanni Ribisi
Caleb Landry Jones
Rated: R

Maybe the main character in this story was cousins with Wahlberg’s character in “The Italian Job.”

The story of Contraband follows the character Chris Farraday (Wahlberg), a former smuggler who has now turned to making an honest living and having a family.

Unfortunately, his younger brother-in-law Andy (Jones) didn’t quite get the message and decides to try smuggling himself, this goes wrong though as Customs catches him in the act and he has to get rid of the drugs he was bringing across.

Because of the incident a mob boss named Briggs (Ribisi) tells Andy that he needs to come up with the money for what he dropped or he will put hits out on the entire family. Andy then goes to Chris for help forcing the retired crook to get back into the business. Chris asks his former smuggling friend Sebastian (Foster) for help for one last criminal run to save his family.

This is a movie where you basically get what you paid for, it’s nothing special but it will entertain you for two hours. In some ways, the story tries to hard to be dramatic sometimes when at almost every corner this is just a straight forward action piece. There were times when it was unpredictable to know exactly what the characters were going to have to go through, however there was always a sense of whatever they were about to do was going to go terribly wrong.

The film goes overboard towards the end also as it tries to throw a twist in with one of the characters which I felt was completely unnecessary. The whole idea was used just to thicken a plot which really didn’t need to be thickened.

The acting was alright for the most part. This type of film is very familiar territory for Wahlberg and it shows as he’s able to play the part convincingly. The same could be said about Ben Foster who’s character had a believable friendship with Wahlberg’s and without any use of flashbacks it was easy to see that these two had been through a lot together.

However I can’t say as much about Kate Beckinsale who seemed dull in the role and never had a real chemistry with Wahlberg on screen, this may have been because she was mainly just used as a punching bag by the villains though. Speaking of villains, Giovanni Ribisi never wowed me either. He did the part fine and had the persona of being a sort of middle of the road crime boss, yet I never felt that he was truly threatening.

The action was alright and it was interesting seeing the ideas and ways of operating in the smuggling business. The problem is that going into the third act, the action begins to slow down for a more dramatic finish which just didn’t work for what the movie really was.

Contraband is just an okay film. It has actors who can hold their own and lead their roles and a nice budget for some nice action moments however the story just seemed to try and be more than it really was, the more it tried to be suspenseful and throw a twist, the more dull it got. It will keep you entertained however it’s nothing special. Low 2 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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