Movie Reviews

Contraband: A game of cat and mouse

By Wang DexianMovies - 11 January 2012 1:00 PM | Updated 16 January 2012

Contraband: A game of cat and mouse

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster

The Buzz:Contrabandis a remake of an Icelandic film made in 2009 named “Reykjavík-Rotterdam”. The director of that movie, Baltasar Kormákur, also happens to helm this remake.

The Story: Former ace smuggler Chris Farraday has now gone legit and the owner of a small security firm. When his wife, Kate, and his two kids are implicated into the shady underworld by his brother-in-law, Andy's botched drug delivery, he goes back to his past life to pull off one final run – a shipment of millions of counterfeit bills- to clear Andy's debt. Thinks: Crime thrillers are a plenty. We've seen heists being pulled off, drugs being pushed and of course, the mafias and the triads running their petty street crimes. The smuggler is one not commonly seen and my, oh my, it does make for some slightly compelling cinema!

Tough guy-turned-rapper-turned underwear model-turned actor whose specialty is playing slightly foul-mouthed tough guys Mark Wahlberg plays Chris Farraday, the tough smuggler turned good.

Of course, Wahlberg is no stranger to the crime genre, having starred in heist flick “The Italian Job”and as a cop in “The Departed”amongst many others.

Wahlberg is a guy able to pull off juggling the pomp and the tough guy persona needed to pull off lines like “You think you're the only guy with a gun?!” and switch to the caring family man that really drives this movie forward.

On the plot side of things, the smuggling scenes are certainly fun and exciting, especially when Farraday and his crew try to hide their loot from the various obstacles the customs present them with.

Furthermore, his quest gets more complicated with a decent twist which we’re not going to spoil, but it did draw a few minor gasps in the audience.

The film's pacing is rather slow, but once Farraday and gang start to retrieve their loot, the action never really stops.

On the whole, “Contrabandisn't a very ambitious film, but it isn't a terrible film either. The trailer did make the film seem a tad more explosive than it really was but a very likable cast and good execution of the various plots made for a rather pleasing movie although it did leave us satisfied but wanting more.

A rather straightforward criminal plot with family drama thrown in for slight sizzle, if we were to make an analogy here; “Contrabandwould be the type of movie that is destined to be run on cable television and one that viewers will catch umpteenth times.

Not there's anything wrong with slightly disposable entertainment like this, especially if it's executed this well. We just wished there was something in this that would have put it over the top. To sum it all up, “Contraband is a good, solidly acted action flick with no frills.