Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Kate Beckinsale, Caled Landry Jones, Giovanni Ribisi
What would you hide to protect your family?
Chris Farraday is an expert in smuggling who have changed to a legal profession after creating a family with his wife Kate. His not so bright and experienced nephew Andy gets in trouble when he tries to do a cocaine run across the border but has to discard the drugs to avoid getting caught.
He now owes the gangster Tim Briggs a lot of money and it’s up to Chris and his best friend Sebastian to plan one last boat run to Panama and back to save Andy.
This is a remake of Reykjavik-Rotterdam, a movie that is surprisingly from Iceland out of all places. I’ve never seen that one so I can’t compare or say how this holds up to the original.
Contraband is a dumb but decent crime movie. The concept is alright but it needs a strong and coherent script. There’s a lot of stuff happening in this movie that just frankly didn’t make sense… at all. The movie would have been better if they had given the characters more backstory before the action started and rather cut away some of the side problems Chris experiences during his run. It would have added more realism and just made it flow better. Now script problems isn’t a new thing with action movies, but they are really bad here and I expect better in 2012.
Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights, Rock Star) plays Chris and he is just going through the motions here. He is one of very few newer actors that are able to do a job as an action star, so even if he isn’t acting very much he still works as the part. Kate Beckinsale (Pearl Harbor, Underworld) plays Kate, the cliché girlfriend of the action hero. Giovanni Ribisi (Lost Highway, Saving Private Ryan) plays Briggs the gangster. He is always fun to watch on the screen regardless if his role is big or small and is definitely the standout of the film.
Baltasar Kormakur is an actor/director from Iceland who acted and produced the first one and got the opportunity to direct this one. I didn’t see anything here that would suggest that he has a big future in Hollywood. He is set to direct another new action movie starring Mark Wahlberg next year called 2 Guns, hopefully he will prove me wrong with that one and deliver a more inspired film then Contraband.
Contraband ends up being a very generic movie doing speed. It runs too fast and tries to do too much without succeeding. Together with a group of friends and some beer it can work for what it is, but it’s not a very good movie and there’s enough of other Wahlberg movies to rather watch than this.