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Movie Review: CONTRABAND Starring Mark Wahlberg

Thursday, 2 August 2012

My latest LoveFilm rental’s arrived earlier this week and luckily for you guys their selections of Bad Teacher starring Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz and Hall Pass starring Owen Wilson and Ed Helms both didn’t work, faulty discs apparently. How’s that lucky for you? Well I had been out and bought myself Mark Wahlberg’s Contraband on Blu-ray, had the other discs worked then I’m sure my wife would have choose one of those movies over this one, however on saying that she did enjoy this and even admitted it when it finished.

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Lukas Haas, Giovanni Ribisi and Caleb Landry Jones

The Plot

Wahlberg plays Chris Faraday, a former Contraband smuggler who left the business, went legit, got married and had a couple of kids. His young brother-in-law Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) is still in the business and has got in with the local drug dealer Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), Andy is smuggling drugs from Panama when their ship is boarded by customs and he has to dump “the package”. Andy is promptly beaten up for his efforts and now owes money to Briggs, he is going to run but Chris agrees to do one last run in order to clear the debt.

The Verdict

I have to say I was pretty impressed with Contraband, yeah it’s predictable and you kind of guess what’s going to happen within the first thirty minutes but I really enjoyed this. Mark Wahlberg was brilliant and his backing cast (including his real life brother Robert Wahlberg) were also brilliant. Contraband is kind of like Gone in 60 Seconds in story but the smuggling of the counterfeit currency and or drugs adds a little more danger to the situations for me, and let’s face it at half Nicholas Cage’s age (and a lot better actor) Mark Wahlberg kicks a whole lot more ass.

From the start this was pretty much action all the way, it hardly comes up for breath, kind of like Wahlberg’s Shooter another fast paced actioner. If I had one complaint about Contraband it would be at times it was very dark and difficult to see faces, I don’t mind so much as I think it sets the tone of a dirty world of smuggling but I’m sure they could have lightened it up a little, quite surprising really when I was watching this on Blu-ray. The scenes I’m referring to tended to be the attempts at drama between Wahlberg and his wife played by Kate Beckinsale, but what was brilliant was how well the picture came through on ariel shots of New Orleans and it’s shipping yards, in full 1080i they looked and felt brilliant.

I’ve seen a review which didn’t give Kate Beckinsale much of a write up for her efforts in Contraband but I would have to disagree, she’s a pretty tough cookie and although she wasn’t playing that type of role in this movie she managed to hold her own against Ben Foster and Giovanni Ribisi who are both strong gangster type characters in every movie they have starred in. Admittedly, Beckinsale really didn’t have all that much to do until a twist is revealed about an hour in, but when it came to it she was very impressive. I also really like Giovanni Ribisi (Phobe’s brother in Friends and also starred in Gone in 60 Seconds) but my one complaint of him during this movie would be his voice, for me he really didn’t come across as a psychotic drug dealer and Wahlberg kicked his ass every time they had a fight

I’m also a big fan of Ben Foster, who I have previously reviewed in The Mechanic with Jason Statham and Rampart with Woody Harrelson, second to Mark Wahlberg he is the guy who helped add Contraband’s intensity. Contraband is essentially the Mark Wahlberg show but the others done well, a predictable but enjoyable action movie which at 1 hour and 49 minutes running time is just perfect.

Would I watch it again?

Totally, this is a movie that you can watch time and time again and still get the same amount of enjoyment out of it.

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