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Review: Contraband

Score:B+

Director:Baltasar Kormákur

Cast:Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi

Running Time:110.00

Rated:R

From
the trailers I expected Contraband to be a very stereotypical,
predictable movie about a tough guy saving the day. While the film did take
some predictable turns, some plot twists occurred that I didn't entirely
expect.

Contraband starts with the story of a
retired smuggler (Wahlberg) turned family man trying to help out his wife's
brother who decided to get into the "˜trade' and ended up way over his head.
This remake of an Icelandic film is actually quite enjoyable without being a
stereotypical action movie. There's some intrigue, a little suspense, and a
general feeling that nothing is going to be solved without some action.
The style of this film is grittier, made possible by a subdued color palette
and some camera tricks. The occasional unfocused shot and camera shake might be
a little more annoying if I didn't find the plot so interesting. The dialogue
is peppered with cussing but still manages to have some pretty humorous moments
with well timed jokes to keep things from getting too serious.

Wahlberg
has, in my opinion, proven himself to be a well rounded action star. He fits
himself into his roles rather than making the character fit him, and his
character, Chris Faraday, in Contraband is no exception. Ben Foster
plays a pretty convincing sidekick and protector to Faraday's family while he's
in Panama smuggling in goods to somehow save their lives. Giovanni Ribisi, the
antagonist of the film, plays both a henchman and a villain quite believably,
making me curious to watch other movies he's been part of.

My
favorite part of Contraband is actually, in hindsight, a little strange.
As a smuggler, Faraday employs old-school tactics to get his contraband from
Panama to New Orleans. There's no crazy hacking or questionable references to
technology; it's all Faraday and whatever crazy scheme he works out. Also,
everything down to the last detail is resolved. Some of it might be a little
speculative, but there is a distinct (and amazing) lack of plot holes.
Considering it's classification as an action film, this is particularly
noteworthy.

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About Candace Breiten

Candace Breiten

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