Under Review: ‘Contraband’


Being a fan of action, adventure, drama, plots with a twist and Mark Wahlberg, I was looking forward to the actor’s latest movie. In “Contraband,” Wahlberg plays Chris Farraday, who has left behind his criminal past to raise a family. His brother-in-law, Andy (played by Caleb Landry Jones), gets caught up with a drug lord (played by an almost unrecognizable Giovanni Ribisi) and Chris is forced back into the life of high-risk crime to help settle the debt to save Andy and his family’s lives.

Wahlberg delivers a strong, convincing performance, but it just didn’t seem to be enough for this film to get on the track as a high-action drama film. The plot is weak, with a storyline that often was predictable. Typically, when watching a movie, I do not try to guess who is doing what or what the ending will be as I like to go along for the ride. However, in “Contraband,” a lot of the storyline was so thin that I knew who was doing what to who and how it would end. The ending and what should have been plot twists were easily figured out and the action seemed all too staged.

Even though there was a cast of many, they seemed to be there for window dressing and not really any character development; you just never figured why he needed so many of these people there. The director, Baltasar Kormakor, didn’t really utilize the talent that was involved with the movie — including Kate Beckinsale, J.K. Simmons, Lucas Haas, Robert Wahlberg and Ben Foster — who should have been a dream to write for but it just fell short.

On the bright side, there were some fantastic night shots at the beginning of the city from the helicopter and the boats in the water as the customs people close in on the boat. They were so good, in fact, that it looks like they used the same footage again later in the movie.

Sometimes, good actors doing their best and delivering on their roles to their full potential can often be the only thing in the movie that is worthwhile; but even a few good shots and a song or two can’t pull it together without sound writing and a vision from the director.

If action in this movie were calories to be counted, this film would be listed as action lite.

“Contraband” is in theatres now.

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