Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is a New Orleans family man married to Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and has two sons. Chris was formerly a top-of-the-game ship smuggler for drugs, money, cars, etc. Unofortunately, Kate's younger brother (Caleb Landry Jones) botches a drug run for his ruthless boss Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), and Chris is brought back into what he does best; running contraband. However, the job becomes more complicated than he and his ragtag team thought it would be. Sounds very familiar for a movie where you have lead character who's the king of a certain profession, but the final job he takes on goes wrong in just about every way. Oh originality, how you continue to be nonexistent in Hollywood.
This movie is a remake of an Icelandic thriller, and it's ironically directed by Baltasar Kormákur, the star of the original version. As a director who's successful back in his home country of Iceland, he's not so successful with what he gets to work with for this remake. He tries to make almost every scene feel real-time with the handheld camera style, but that type of shooting translates to bad editing where the camera just moves around too much during each cut. However, I will give credit to Kormákur for staging an armored truck heist in the middle of the film that was actually pretty entertaining for the five minutes it took up of the movie's running time. Unfortunately, there aren't anymore scenes in the rest of the movie that match up to the exhilaration of that heist, even in the big heist that the majority of the film is centered upon.
"Contraband" is a definitive January movie that's certainly not going to help break the streak of generic movies releasing during this month. The cast gives it their best shot, but they can't save this dull and cliche heist thriller from being anything more than a rainy Sunday rental at the very best. Mark Wahlberg is capable of choosing good projects to star, but this film falls into his "2008" territory where you'd end up asking him: "Seriously, what drew you to star in this?"
Final Grade: C-
Review of "Contraband" on Youtube