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USA, UK, France
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Action
IMDB rating:
Baltasar Kormákur
Mark Wahlberg as Chris Farraday
William Lucking as Bud Farraday
Amber Gaiennie as Danny's Bride
Jason Mitchell as Walter
Paul LeBlanc as CBP Official
Connor Hill as Michael
David O'Hara as Jim Church
Robert Wahlberg as John Bryce
Giovanni Ribisi as Tim Briggs
J.K. Simmons as Captain Camp
Ben Foster as Sebastian Abney
Kate Beckinsale as Kate Farraday
Kent Jude Bernard as Tommy Raymer
Diego Luna as Gonzalo
Lukas Haas as Danny Raymer
Storyline: Chris Faraday once smuggled illegal items or contraband into the country on freighters. He left that life behind, got married, has a family and went legit. But when his brother-in-law got involved with Briggs, a drug dealer and when he blew a deal, Briggs demands restitution which he can't deliver. So Chris offers to find a way to pay Briggs but then he threatens Chris' family if he doesn't deliver. So he gets on a freighter destined for Panama and he sets out to bring back some counterfeit currency. Briggs "goes to see" Chris' family. When Chris learns of this he asks his friend Sebastian to take care of them which he does. He tells Chris that it would be better to bring drugs instead of the cash.
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Pretty strong drug-smuggling thriller
CONTRABAND is a tale of cross-border drug-smuggling, centred around a tough, everyman character played by the underrated Mark Wahlberg. The film for the most part sidesteps modern-day Hollywood clichés, like shoehorned-in action scenes that add nothing to the storyline and are merely there to give choreographers and special effects guys a chance to earn their keep. For the record, there's only one (relevant) car chase.

Instead this is a taut, suspenseful story that plays realistic for the most part, and all the better for it. The truth is that it doesn't bring anything new to the table and the thrills it chronicles are very familiar, but its depiction of the minutiae of the scenario keep it moving merrily along. It also has some suitably unpleasant bad guys to boo at.

CONTRABAND also features a cast of former youthful stars who are nowadays moving into more mature roles. Ben Foster and Giovanni Ribisi play to type, but it's good to see Lukas Haas given some proper material and even Kate Beckinsale isn't too shabby. J. K. Simmons stands out in a supporting role as the ship's captain and Diego Luna once again delivers an edgy turn. The film might be no classic but for solid thrills and suspense you could do a lot worse.
Loads of fun!
It's implausible, clichéd (I'm sick of that word), not the best script, not-always perfect acting etc. etc. etc. and etc.

Now that the obvious stuff is out of the way;

It's tonnes of fun!

The film was a bit 'too' by-the-numbers in the beginning I'll admit that but I got a "we're getting on really well and having a laugh making this" vibe from all of the actors which helped because there wasn't really any chemistry built between the characters so the fact that the actors themselves seemed to have it was a plus.

About halfway through and then all the way to the end, the film kicks into gear and is seriously entertaining.

Don't read the next two lines if you don't even like hints at what happens in films (it's not a spoiler but you might guess what I meant while watching the film):

**At one point...I thought Hollywood had finally broken the mould and done something the audience didn't want to see...but no**

I felt that what I mentioned above might have helped to make this unique from all the other "must save family by breaking the law" type films out there and give it some credibility (in a weird way..!)

But the fact that this film has Ben Foster in it is enough anyway.

Acting wise everyone does their usual stuff. Some is amazing and some is standard...Giovanni Ribisi is outstanding and the only one that I felt bothered to transform himself into a believable scumbag.

Everyone else was a little too "clean" looking and sounding.

Great film and definitely one to watch, just don't be expecting anything thought-provoking (obviously)

8/10 for sheer enjoyment factor...I may even watch it again.
Solid entertainment
It is kind of in vogue to dismiss such crime/action dramas as being predictable and cliché. The same can be said for almost any movie genre, come to think of it. This may simply be because there are only a number of templates a movie can fit into. So I'm going to pretend that I don't know a template exists. And it you treat Contraband in this way, you'll have a good time watching it.

I thought the plot was varied enough and the acting was good enough. Yes, of course, there were times that you think, "How lucky they were to get away with this just in time!", if you know what I mean. But then, if they got caught, the movie would be over in 35 minutes and quite a few audience members would be demanding a refund. You've got to suspend belief if you want to enjoy such movies.

As far as the acting goes, the good guys were good enough and the bad guys were bad enough. Actually, they were a little more complicated than that and I had no complaints about the acting. In fact, I'd like to say a few words about Mark Wahlburg. Here's a guy who's always going to give a credible performance. Certainly, he's been stereotyped into these tough, lower class, bad-boys-gone-good roles, but he never disappoints the viewer. I'd like to see him in something with a little more depth because my guess is he would handle it well.

So if you are looking for a movie that will give you some good entertainment and a little more besides, just suspend your belief and enjoy Contraband.
Not so good...
Possible spoiler alert

First, let me tear this movie down. This film was a traditional, mindless, action-driven, escapist film. This movie was laughably clichéd. None of the performances were believable. There was almost no original material, only regurgitated Hollywood gimmicks. The pacing of the film is lightning-fast, just fast enough to not care about the characters at all. The cinematography was terrible. It was as if the director of photography was a person that had never handled a camera before. I understand that they may be trying to capture a certain urgency, but there was too much unnecessary zooming and shaking. It came across as just another gimmick in this cliché-filled movie. To summarize, this movie is uncreative and unspecial. If you are a fan of movies that are different, special, inspiring, etc., don't go see this movie. I was dragged to this movie by my friends, as it was.

Now, the good parts. It was somewhat well produced; it had some good special effects (boats, helicopters, explosions, guns). It was "manly." It had some small moments of excitement, but they were underwritten by the predictability of the plot line. And finally, there was one steadicam tracking shot at the end that was a breath of fresh air within the crappy cinematography of this film.

All in all, this movie is not a movie for fans of great cinema. But if you are a film of Hollywood blockbusters, go for it. But I bet you can guess the ending after five minutes of watching.

Biggest disappointment of 2012,
It speaks poorly of today's moviegoers that anyone would rate this turkey higher than 3. The continuity, photography, lighting, and direction are atrocious. The story makes no sense; and the screen is too dark to see much of anything 20% of the time.

I like Mark Walberg, and I just love Kate Beckensale; but I challenge anyone to tell us what she was wearing in ANY of her many scenes. The photography was so bad, and the choppy camera-hop was like an ADD kid was running things.

This one played and died quickly in theaters, so we caught it on DVD. It cost us $1.60 for the rental' 80 cents each. This movie is not worth 80 cents.
The dull tone left me unengaged and the bigger moments left me behind
I quite like Mark Wahlberg and wanted to watch this film despite the so- so reviews it had received. The plot sees Wahlberg's character drawn back into the smuggling game he was once so great at, in order to pay off a debt his brother-in-law owes to a drug-dealer. This involves getting on a boat to Panama and bringing back a package – but even this is not as simple as it seems.

Starting this film as a couple, we made it about 20 minutes in before my partner decided she was bored of it already and didn't want to watch any more. I finished by myself another time and have to admit that I can see why she felt this way because the film has a very slow and rather ordinary pace to it. The plot doesn't help because the first half seems quite ordinary and without too much going on to actually draw you in. There isn't a sense of danger even though there is violence – it felt like acting rather than real within the context of the story. In the middle of the film there is a lot of action and rapid events but these get too big, too quickly and I really didn't buy them – mainly because the previous parts of the film hadn't done much to engage me up till that point. From here the darker tone continues and lots happens on the way to a far too tidy ending, but too much of it just feels too convenient and easy and I wasn't buying into any of it, which is a real shame because delivered better it might have worked.

The direction is far too dark and lacking in energy and tension – lives are on the line but it didn't come across that way. Wahlberg does his usual solid turn but the material isn't there for him and his character doesn't always work well. Foster is better towards the end, more convincing and has something to do, but Ribisi doesn't add much beyond ticking boxes. Beckinsdale is good looking but is limited in what she has to actually do, while Haas, Simmons and some other recognizable faces show up in support.

It is a rather ordinary film overall; it has a drab tone and poor pacing that kept me from getting into it – but then suddenly asks me to go along with bigger moments and rather contrived denouncements, which is hard to do while watching from the outside. Might fill the time as a so- so drama but it is nothing more than average.
There is something rather derivative about Contraband. Then again Giovanni Ribisi who plays a drug kingpin who somehow lives in a housing project threatens the life of Mark Wahlberg's brother in law for a drug smuggling operation gone wrong and it falls to Wahlberg to put things right you recall Gone in 60 seconds when it was Ribisi who was the unfortunate brother who had to be rescued by Nicolas Cage who had to steal customised cars in order to placate the gangsters.

Mark Wahlberg and his crew are former ace smugglers now going straight. He has a wife (Kate Beckinsale) and 2 kids. However because his brother in law dumped drugs on the side of a ship, he is forced to go to Panama with some of his crew to make amends.

For some reason his best friend (Ben Foster) stays behind but he is not left to protect Wahlberg's family who surely are in the mercy of Ribisi, especially as Wahlberg earlier attacked him and pulled a gun on him.

In fact things would had been more simpler but also shorter if Wahlberg had just shot Ribisi there and then.

What we have is a convoluted and confusing smuggling story where they plan to smuggle fake bills. However the brother in law steals the fake bills and buys cocaine as Ribisi keeps on threatening. Not sure how he knew his way around the Panama underworld, worse still by stealing the money he left the rest of the gang in the mercy of a gangland war lord. Lucky for them the warlord needed several people for a heist involving a Jackson Pollock and Wahlberg comes in handy.

Still Ribisi always seem to be in the know and Wahlberg cannot really put his finger on it even though he is constantly keeping Foster in the loop.

This really is one dumb action film. Its like a bad Tony Scott action film. You have scenes where Beckinsale who is being terrorised by Ribisi and she leaves her kids alone. She gets attack again, goes to stay with another friend and then goes to Foster's house to get some things. Why?

There is not an ounce of originality in this film. Its badly shot, boringly directed and only J K Simmons as the ship's Captain makes the most of his brief role.
good straight forward action.
Another one of Mark Wahlbergs action films. Which is probably one of his better ones. The plot is interesting and has not been done 1000 times and the acting is good from the whole cast. This is actually one of the better action movies I have seen lately. The story line is very simple and straight forward but if your a fan of action movies this is right up your alley.

This movie is about an ex smuggler(Wahlberg) who has a brother in law that got mixed up with some drug dealers. In order to save his brother in laws life he must go to panama and smuggle back millions of dollars in counterfeit bills.

This movie is definitely worth a watch or two. It is very simple but the entertainment factor is there.
In the exclusively clichéd Contraband, ex-bad guy Mark Wahlberg plays Chris Farraday who helps his idiot brother-in-law out of a jam but gets himself and wifey into plenty himself.

Quite frankly, that's all I want to say about this mess of a movie. It was a gut wrenching experience to watch old burned out themes overlapping even older and tired themes repeatedly. Hell, they all-but start the movie in the standard crowded, obviously East-Coast bar where Chris professes the standard, retired "he ain't like that anymore" speech.

It didn't help the movie was filmed in the dark, for the most part, and the script all over the place. Throw in bad performances, ho-hum action segments and actors who just didn't care to be there.

This heist themed film is so far removed from entertainment that it should, in fact, be banned. It's light-years under Ocean's Eleven (pick one) and it's a chore to get to the inevitable, highly foreseen finale.

Seriously, there is barely a redeeming quality here and it should be skipped.
Ended up liking it much more than I thought at first...
It started out a bit too reminiscent of "Gone in 60 Seconds" for me and I thought I would lose interest. I didn't. It ended up much more exciting than expected and I really enjoyed all the action - even as a female that likes action movies for the most part, but gets bored with the "same old crap".

Giovanni Ribisi is hard to believe at first as "THE tough guy/Bad Ass", but fits the role perfectly as twists come to light. Perhaps his place as a protagonist where there is a young guy in deep trouble that needs rescuing from his brother (in-law, in this case) is what put me so in mind of "Gone in 60 Seconds" at the beginning of this movie.

Lots of twists... some expected, but I'm one of those people that figures it all out pretty easily (and ticks off those watching with me - if I say it out loud), but a couple that were unexpected, too.

Watch - Enjoy - it's worth it!
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