Welcome to the world of smuggling, drugs and counterfeit money in Baltasar Kormakur’s movie, starring Mark Wahlberg. The funny fact is that Contraband is actually a remake of the Icelandic movie, Reykjavik-Rotterdam, with Kormakur as main actor and director. So was “smuggling” this original title into the Hollywood version a good idea?
Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is a former smuggler in New Orleans, who put away his past a long time ago and his only wish is to live happily forever with his pretty wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale) and kids. Unfortunately for them, the moronic younger brother of Kate gets into trouble while a big amount of smuggled goods which belonged to Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), a local gangster and smuggler get confiscated by the police,.
As a form of payment the angry Briggs forces Farrady to do another dangerous smuggling job by threatening Farrady’s family. The former smuggler heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills. Still, he doesn’t know yet, what dangerous mess he got himself and his family in…
One positive side of the movie, that it somewhat retains the gritty realism of the original movie instead of the glamorous Hollywood action crap, that we would expect from a movie of this genre. No flashy explosions, John Woo-like gunplay or helicopter chases here: we have our share of tight gunfights, but it stays on the verge of realism.
Still, the story feels a lot like those we heard before: the reluctant professional, who’s like the Godfather: “just when he thought he was out, and they pull him back in.” There are also some inconsistencies and cringe worthy “deus ex machinas” in the movie, with major characters saved to conveniently.
Mark Wahlberg is playing his macho and angry Mark Marky character once again and Kate Beckinsale proves us, that while still having has a nice ass, she still lacks in the acting department. True, her role is rather one-dimensional as well.
“Mark” my words…
Mark Wahlberg isn’t the best actors in Hollywood for sure still he is comfortable in this role, as the ex-smuggler, tough guy who does one last job, for saving his family. While there’s little surprise in Contraband, nor is it the most exciting or realistic smuggler stories ever, still you can have a good time while watching it on either your TV set, or mobile phone/PSP/PS Vita device.