Contraband is the 2012 remake of the Icelandic film Reykjavik-Rotterdam. The film is directed by Baltasar Kormáku who was the lead actor of the original film. In this remake Mark Wahlberg takes on the lead role. For a first time Hollywood filmmaker Kormaku brings the goods.
The movie opens up with Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) on a cargo ship. He is woken up by a U.S. customs helicopter. He quickly gets up and dumps the drugs that he was smuggling into the sea before he can get arrested. Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), the man that hired Andy is not too happy about this and rams Andy’s car killing his friend and sending him to the hospital. Soon there after Andy’s brother in law Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) who was a smuggler offers to pay Briggs. He leaves his best friend, Sebastian Abney (Ben Foster) to take care of his wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale) and two kids and sets off to Panama for one last job to save his family.
Mark Wahlberg is typical as the tough guy protagonist performing the same character as in all of his other action movies. But that doesn’t take away from the film as he plays a pretty good though guy. He does a much better job than Beckinsale but that’s not really fair as she doesn’t have as many scenes and when she appears you can be sure that’s she going to get attacked somehow. The acting is kicked up a notch by Foster and the all ways great L.K. Simmons as Captain Camp. Although their characters aren’t in the film all that much they do brighten up the screen every time they appear. Ribisi also does a great job as the villainous Briggs but I just wished his character was a lot more defined so that he could have more to work with.
Having never seen the original I can’t make any comparisons but I can say that the directing by Kormaku is right on and is a great effort for his first Hollywood film. The script probably needed a bit more polishing as it ends up being a tad predictable. The pacing of the film is also something that should have been tightened up as it never seemed to flow right, it just felt clunky. But at the end of the day no one goes to an action film for the character development or the story but for the action and on that end Contraband delivers.
Contraband is your typical Hollywood action film in that it doesn’t break any new ground or tries to be different than any of the countless other “one last job” action films. But that isn’t such a bad thing as Contraband is a rather entertaining film that leaves you with a rather enjoyable ending, if not predictable. Overall this is your standard action film and a pretty good one. I would recommend it to anyone who likes action film or just anyone that like Mark Walberg movies, 3 out of 5.