I Saw A Film Today… Contraband

Marky Mark is undoubtedly an action man. He may have the skill and ability to do a more dramatic film, such as fellow action hero Jason Statham, but I really don’t know if he could pull it off well. But why would he do a more dramatic role? He clearly loves these types of films. I mean, could you really see anyone else playing the lead in Contraband?

******

Chris Farraday (Whalberg) has a pretty good life. He has a wife named Kate (Kate Beckinsale), two kids, and his own business installing security systems. It’s a far cry from when he used to smuggle illegal things for a living. But as is a standard in action films, something has to screw up this happy life. This time, it’s in the form of Kate’s brother, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones). He is in trouble after failing to complete a drug smuggling job for the wimpy gangster Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi).

Now Chris is left with the difficult decision of either letting Andy hang or getting back into the smuggling trade to pay off Briggs. Deciding to make one final run, Chris enlist the help of his best friend Sebastian (Ben Foster) to get him on a ship to smuggle counterfeit cash back from Panama. But again in true action film fashion, things don’t go as easy as that. How far is Chris willing to go to protect his family?

Contraband is a tiring film. It is just so painfully clichéd and similar. At its core this film is something of a revamp of Gone in Sixty Seconds (In actuality it is an American remake of a Icelandic film called Reykjavik-Rotterdam from the long far back as 2009). Minus the cars and Nic Cage. May seem a little far-fetched but then again there numerous other action films from years past that share similarities with Contraband.

What has happened to the heist genre? It’s one of my favorite genres of film, specifically the British heist films of the 60’s and 70’s. But lately it’s not really about the heist or the story. It’s more about sporadic gun fights and boring car chases. There are exceptions. Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean franchise is a good example, for the most part. Guy Ritchie’s earlier films like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch as well. And Whalberg has even been in a good one, the remake of The Italian Job (Although the original is indeed better). As with all action films, story over substance always wins.

Performances are rather mundane. Wahlberg is why you come to see this film. He has these types of films down to a near science. The other performance I rather liked Was Ben Foster. Foster has always been something of a weakling in his films, even when he was supposed to be the hard action type. In this film he is more relaxed and natural. Giovanni Ribisi is a really terrible villain. He’s cowardly, weak, and non-menacing, which is the exact opposite of what the antagonist should be. The rest of the cast is forgettable at best. Although I will have to make a special effort to actually forget J.K. Simmons’ performance.

Contraband would have been an entertaining film years ago. But now it has no flavor, just more of the same rubbish that comes out of Hollywood every year.

Verdict: SKIP IT

*Rated R for violence, pervasive language, and brief drug use.

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One Response to “I Saw A Film Today… Contraband”

  1. There’s not a lot to think about while watching it and we’ve seen some of this plot before in other films, but for a movie opening in January, it’s actually pretty damn good thanks to a couple of cool heists and a relatively good cast. Nice review Kev.

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