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Mark Wahlberg in Contraband
Mark Wahlberg in Contraband

Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) used to be the go-to smuggler: Drugs, money, drugs and money - there wasn’t anything he couldn’t get from one border to another with a minimum of fuss. Those days are over: Now Chris is a New Orleans family man with a wife (Kate Beckinsale, in supportive-spouse purgatory between Underworld installments), two kids and a legitimate job as a security-system installer. But then his deadbeat brother, a much less-adept smuggler, tosses a cocaine load belonging to Chris’s psycho former colleague (Giovanni Ribisi). Just when he thought he was out…

What follows is a convoluted bit of hogwash involving a Panama-bound cargo ship, several crates’ worth of counterfeit moolah, gun-toting gangsters led by a posturing Diego Luna and an ill-treated Jackson Pollock canvas. Contraband looks and feels like something Entourage’s Vincent Chase and his posse might have come up with after bingeing on Michael Mann flicks (an impromptu armored-truck heist even cribs shamelessly from Heat). It’s mostly watchable: Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur (Jar City, Inhale) keeps things moving at a brisk clip, Wahlberg is his usual charmingly befuddled self, and the unsurprisingly terrible Ribisi - doing a gangland variation on his mentally challenged romantic in The Other Sister - has much less screen time than threatened in prerelease promotions. But none of that changes the fact that the movie amounts to little more than Marky Mark’s South American Vacation.

By: Keith Uhlich


Release details

Rated: MA
Release date: Thursday February 23 2012
Duration: 109 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Screenwriter: Aaron Guzikowski
Cast: Giovanni Ribisi
Kate Beckinsale
Mark Wahlberg