Contraband (2012) Directed by Baltasar Kormákur.Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi and Kate Beckinsale. IMDB says: “To protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord, a former smuggler heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills.”

Alright, so you know what you’re getting from a film like Contraband. There’s gonna be some implausible scenarios revolving around action sequences where the film’s hero of course makes it out alive. So how does this film stack up against the rest in the genre? Not too shabby. The film centers around a man (Mark Wahlberg) doing his best to leave the days of crime in the past and focus on providing for his family. As we all know by now, it’s never that easy, and he is forced back into the game because of a mistake made by his dumb shit of a brother-in-law. The action in the film is serviceable and so is the acting, which comes across better than expected. The majority of the cast are playing characters lacking in depth, but they don’t appear to be there solely for the paycheck. They give it enough effort for the audience to know they are having a little fun, which rubs off. There’s not a whole lot to gush or gripe over in the film because it essentially lives up to any exceptions you have from watching the film’s trailer. My only major complaint is that the film seemed to run a little long (about 2 hours) and it had me squirming in my seat for the last minutes. For the money, I think this is better suited for a rental, so save your pennies and catch it when it comes around in a few months.

Sitting in the theater I surprisingly found myself watching this fairly generic heist/crime movie, and actually finding myself getting a kick out of it. Maybe it’s that I might actually like Mark Wahlberg a bit more than I give him credit for. Maybe it was the fact that his take on his character, Chris Farraday was pretty fun despite the mostly by the numbers plot/dialogue. Maybe it was that I love Ben Foster and I completely bought him as a harden criminal. Maybe it was Giovanni Ribisi as probably the most memorable part of the movie, as the weird as hell villain with the unplaceable accent. Maybe it was that I wanted to punch Chris Farraday’s brother-in-law as much as Chris did. Maybe it was that I kept thinking how ridiculous certain events in the movie were, but not in the way that it made me want to pull my hair out. Whatever it was, I was happy with the end product in the most basic popcorn-movie type way. Contraband definitely doesn’t break new ground but has enough charisma to make it worth watching.


Contraband is in theaters January 13th.