Contraband – A review

It’s been awhile since we’ve been able to get out to a screening of a movie, so when Veronica got her hands on a screener for Contraband, we readily agreed. We came in with the expectation and apprehension of a movie that was going to be subpar at best but ended up pleasantly surprised. Mark Walhberg (The Departed, Boogie Nights) plays Chris Farraday, a retired smuggler, living in New Orleans who has to come out to do one last job to get his brother in law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), out of a pinch.

After Andy’s failure to smuggle in nearly a million dollars worth of cocaine for Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), Chris realizes he has to pull off a job quickly and cleanly to erase the family debt. Caught in the middle was Kate (Kate Beckinsale), Chris’ wife who was left behind to watch after their sons with the help of his best friend Sebastian (Ben Foster).

The problem with movies like this is the all too transparent plot line. Within the first 20 minutes or so, we’d already figured out what was going to happen. But that didn’t stop us from enjoying the ride and view through the Panama Canal, their new skyline and of course, their lesser seen slums.

Walhberg was surprisingly not as wooden as he usually is (remember “The Happening“?) but then again, he does well in films in which he gets to play himself. Ribisi’s Briggs, with his slicked back hair and his tatted up arms was quite the sight to see. His rather erratic behavior made up for the fact that he was a brutally terrible gangster who got his butt kicked by Farraday in each encounter. With few twists in this rather simplistic plot, we’re left with little more than a few gun fights, the understated Kate being used as a punching bag and a few laughs.

We’d recommend Contraband to those looking to spend 2 hours or so mindlessly watching a flick just for the entertainment value. Just don’t go in expecting to be blown away. And hey, if you disagree, you can just blame it on the trees.