Mark Wahlberg seems to do pretty well in this kind of movie. It's a fairly straightforward plot with a few twists here and there accompanied with some decent to solid performances. Contraband is also an easy film to sit down and watch as it doesn't truly require that you pay attention to it all the way through. That being said, it is still an entertaining film despite it's basic premise. The film could have been better altogether if it hadn't been for a few questionable scenes that just seemed out of place and even a bit rushed. Contraband is also a remake of a foreign film that it's director starred in. The original was a Icelandic film titled, Reykjavik-Rotterdam. I have never seen the original film, but this remake had enough to keep you engaged while having it's share of flaws.
The plot follows Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) living the civilian having been a rehabilitated criminal who was famous for his tremendous gift for smuggling. He traded the life in to be a better father and husband of his wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale). His other previous smuggling friends having taken the similar route in their lives but are forced back into it when Kate's immature brother decides to take a job from a dealer named Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi). Chris takes it upon himself to talk to Tim in an attempt to reason with him, but Tim explains that his brother in law lost him a great deal of money. Chris tries to find a reasonable way to repay the money to get Tim off of his family's back but when he exhausts all options his friend Sebastian (Ben Foster) tells him that he should do what he is best at, smuggling. Chris struggles with it, but eventually does what is best for his family considering how Tim threatens them all.
Chris gets his old group of friends together for a job and they all are pleased to hear that he is back in the business, even if it is for one last gig. Of course, Chris comes across a few hiccups in his plan but if he didn't then it wouldn't be a good heist film after all. His last job has him going on a ship to smuggle in counterfeit bills from Panama. While Chris is away trying to do his job in order to appease Tim, he finds out through Kate that Tim has taken it upon himself to scare Kate. In doing so, it fuels Chris to continue on in smuggling goods. Upon the first incident, Sebastian has Kate and her kids move in with him for the time being. Tim then threatens Kate's brother Andy which puts Chris in even more trouble as he promised an old friend Gonzalo (Diego Luna) the money in return for the counterfeit bills. Chris gets the counterfeit bills eventually and heads back home while avoiding the Captain of the ship. While en route to the States, Chris begins to piece things together and realize that Tim is not working alone forcing him to question some of his closest relationships.
Wahlberg of course is tailor made for this kind of role, and he excels at it. The movie itself falters midway through due to some scenes that seem out of place with the general feel of the movie. Not only do they seem out of place but they are also completely unrealistic which then forces me and viewers alike to almost not care about the film anymore. The overall plot is serviceable and offers up enough twists to keep you engaged but it could have done without the scenes I have touched on earlier. The acting across the board is solid, but Ribisi's voice is a bit distracting. I guess it's supposed to be off-putting instead, it comes off tacky. Kate Beckinsale is fine in the role of Wahlberg's wife, but I have a hard time seeing her not putting up a fight as she was constantly in danger throughout the film.
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