Contraband: Blu Ray Review
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Lukas Haas, Ben Foster, Kate Beckinsale, Giovanni Ribisi
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
A remake of a 2008 Icelandic film, which starred the director, Contraband is a heist film set on the seven seas and in Panama.
Wahlberg stars as Chris Farraday, a notorious smuggler, who's now retired from the trade. He's now a family man living the quiet life with his wife Kate (Beckinsale) and 2 kids and working in security alarms rather than hijinks on the waters.
But smuggling runs in the family - and when Kate's brother Andy messes up a deal for boss Tim Briggs (Ribisi), the debt proves to be high and the cost could be Andy's life. So, forced out of retirement for this last job, Farraday decides to head to Panama to call in on some old contacts and try to smuggle out millions of dollars in counterfeit bills.
However, (unsurprisingly), not everything goes to plan - and suddenly Chris is not only fighting for his life but his family's back home...
The idea of one last job for family or to settle a debt is nothing new to be honest - it's been used countless times before.
But Contraband doesn't seem to care as it straddles increasingly strained and preposterous ideas and one (predictable) betrayal after another; however, Wahlberg makes it watchable somehow - even if there is a relative lack of any suspense or real tension.
Ribisi channels feral (at times OTT leering) weasel as the unhinged lunatic Briggs who's trying to cash in the debt and threatens Chris' family with it for the rest of their lives; Wahlberg is solid if unspectacular as Chris, whose attempts to reign in the debt see him involved in a Pollock Panama heist.
Despite a dark grimy unwashed feel to the film, director Baltasar Kormákur Opts for countless swirling and unnecessary aerial shots to bridge the gap between the 'action'. The effect is irritating rather than dizzying and detracts by taking away from any tension which may have been created.
The problem is a real lack of emotional investment in the characters, their plights and resolutions. The often lumpy script doesn't help this either as the noose tightens around everyone's necks. Wahlberg looks suitably perplexed throughout and the pay off at the end (complete with twist) just doesn't feel rewarding enough.
Don't get me wrong; this is well put together, it just lacks a certain little something to make it either edge of your seat stuff or gripping. As it is, it's perfectly serviceable, relatively cliched and instantly forgettable the moment the lights go up.
Extras: See how stunts and effects were done, commentary, deleted scenes, making of