To protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord, a former smuggler heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills.
RottenTomatoes [51%, 56%]
It’s common knowledge that the first quarter of the year in Hollywood is for the Academy Awards, not for actual award caliber movies to be released. A lot of B-list movies are released in the second half of winter for many reasons: people are all catching up on the award season films, it is better to release a summer blockbuster when all the kids are out and about rather than inside in the cold with school finances. There are usually some damn fine movies sprinkled in the mix at the start of each new year, but we mainly come to expect some lower tier films. That’s where I think Contraband will fit in.
Mark Walhberg [Boogie Nights, The Fighter] stars as Chris Farraday, a former smuggler who has stepped away from the game. Now he installs security systems and lives with his wife Kate, played by Kate Beckinsale [Underworld series]. When Chris’s younger brother-in-law gets in trouble with drug dealer Tim Briggs, played by Giovanni Ribisi [Gone in 60 Seconds, Avatar], Chris has to try and pay off the debt to Briggs by doing another big smuggling job. But when Briggs goes after Chris’s family, his idea of payback changes for the worse.
Wahlberg has done this role before in movies like Shooter, which I actually really liked, and he can clearly hold the role fine, but he does not thrive in it. We’ve seen him to much better things, and frankly this role for him has grown old for me. His ability to give a solid performance in this typecast, however, probably means that he’s got a few more of these left in his career.
The movie itself is also something we’ve seen before. The retired ex-con who has to do one more gig to help his family from the over-the-top hotshot drug dealer. Honestly, Ribisi is annoying in this film. Just the way he talks, whatever accent he is trying to use. I’m pretty sure that’s not his real voice, so I don’t know why he or the director or whoever decided he should sound so sleazy and nasally. It’s weird to see him play the exact villain that was after him in the same kind of movie Gone in 60 Seconds. While introducing nothing new to the genre, the writing and direction weren’t cookie cutter ideas. It is it’s own movie with okay direction and an okay story. What I’m trying to say is, it’s an okay movie.
2.5/4 – Contraband is something we’ve seen before. The retired ex-con who has to do one more gig to help his family from the over-the-top hotshot drug dealer. While introducing nothing new to the genre, the writing and direction weren’t cookie cutter ideas. It is it’s own movie with okay direction and an okay story. What I’m trying to say is, it’s an okay movie.