Contraband (2012) starring Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Lukas Haas directed by Baltasar Kormákur Movie Review

Contraband (2012)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Mark Wahlberg in Contraband (2012)

Gone Not Soon Enough

Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) was once a top smuggler but when he got married to Kate (Kate Beckinsale) he turned his back on his life of crime and opened his own business installing domestic security systems. Unfortunately Kate's brother Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) carried on in the smuggling game and managed to get himself in some deep trouble with Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) who is not going to stop till he gets his money back, a lot of money. Reluctantly Chris decides the only way to sort this problem out is return to smuggling to get the money to pay Briggs off and that means putting the team back together. But after Chris confronted Briggs over his threats to his family Briggs takes it personally and so does the person who Briggs is working for.

As movies go "Contraband" is solid, we have some movie cliches such as the former criminal having gone straight returning to a life of crime to protect his family and the whole one last job thing. And with this involving various crimes which require planning and risks there is some good old fashioned criminal ingenuity in order to pull things off. And just for good measure there are also the requisite moments of violence and action to create excitement. Basically it ticks a whole lot of boxes including chucking in a twist as well.

Giovanni Ribisi in Contraband (2012)

But the trouble with "Contraband" is that all it does is tick the boxes and fails to make it explode into life. One of the problems with "Contraband" is "Gone with 60 Seconds" as whilst we have smuggling in place of car jacking they are very similar movies with the brother returning to crime for the sake of the family and a villain who wants his money, ironically Ribisi has gone from the brother in trouble to the nasty guy in this. This lacks the continual excitement and buzz as well as entertaining characters with depth, now it is meant to be different in style but the style feels weaker in comparison.

What "Contraband" also lacks is exciting performances as whilst Ribisi is menacing and vile as Briggs the rest of the cast is ordinary. Beckinsale who has starred in some great movies is wasted here as Chris's wife and so is Ben Foster as Chris's best friend Sebastian. And then there is Mark Wahlberg as Chris and unfortunately whilst Wahlberg has appeared in some good action movies here for what ever reason struggles to make an impact other than for his arms looking ripped in all the t-shirts he wears.

What this all boils down to is that "Contraband" ticks the boxes and for those who are happy to watch a movie which only does what others do right down to a twist then it will work but for me it lacks something to make it come to excitement and drama.