Movie Review – Contraband

I was really looking forward to “Contraband” as I’m a big Mark Wahlberg fan. But I should have known that I might be let down due to the release date. Very few movies that come out early in the calendar year turn out to be winners. The movie studios usually rush to get out their hits in November and December and then the leftovers come out in January and February.

Certainly this movie has a really good cast with Wahlberg front and center. He is also joined on screen by Kate Beckinsale (who’s still hot,) Ben Foster, and Giovanni Ribisi. Foster and Ribisi seem to always play greasy bad guys, and once again live up to those standards. However the movie is so unrealistic that ultimately it was a big let down for me.

In essence “Contraband” is about a former top notch smuggler (Wahlberg) who is forced back into the business because his young brother in law gets in trouble and needs rescuing. Wahlberg then concocts a caper that is fraught with danger and is beyond illogical.

I know a lot of people will still like this movie no matter the impossible nature of the plot, but I just get so tired of everyone shooting at the good guys and never hitting them. In one scene Wahlberg and his buddy are down in Panama and bodies are dropping quicker then NBA players this season, yet Wahlberg goes unscathed. And then there’s another scene where Beckinsale is attacked, has her head bashed in, wrapped up in plastic and then thrown in wet cement, yet she also survives to ham up another scene moments later.
Great cast, but dumb movie. Reminded me of a team of all stars that had no direction. The L.A. Clippers come to mind.

I’ve already had movie fans attack me for my ultimate rating (see below,) because they are Wahlberg fans and just like the shoot ’em up aspect. And to those folks I say you’ll enjoy it, if that’s all you’re looking for. But the better Wahlberg movies not only have the violence aspect, but they are intelligent and well written. “The Fighter, “The Departed”, “Shooter”, “Four Brothers” and “The Italian Job” were all very well done across the board. Not so this movie. My rating – just an RBI single – a star and a half on “Contraband”.