¨You were the best of the best, but the proudest day of my life was when you turned legit.¨
Contraband was one of those surprisingly good action thrillers which I really wasn’t expecting much considering we`ve seen several heist movies like this before and the director was the relatively unknown, Baltasar Kormkakur from Iceland. He might be popular in his country, but this is the first film he`s produced in Hollywood. Mark Wahlberg has proven before that he can make great heist thrillers, and this film is just as surprisingly entertaining as The Italian Job. Wahlberg gives a really great performance in the lead role and I`m guessing by now that he can star in these films blindfolded. He also had a strong supporting cast that made this film even better, but what I enjoyed the most about this film was the script. Yes, some twists were predictable, but it kept my interest and had me at the edge of my seat throughout the entire movie. Contraband was actually a remake of the 2008 Icelandic film, Reykjavik, which starred Kormkakur in the lead role. The script was adapted by Aaron Guzikowski and the action now takes place in between the United States and Panama instead of in Rotterdam. Contraband really worked for me as an entertaining thriller with a couple of twists and surprises (some more predictable than others, but well constructed). I really enjoyed this film.
Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is happily married to Kate (Kate Beckinsale) and they have two children together. He used to be a very successful smuggler, but turned his life around after meeting Kate. They are very happy together, and Chris`s former smuggling partner, Sebastian (Ben Foster), with whom he is still very close is also getting his life back on track. Everything seems to be going really well until Kate receives a call from her brother, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), who is at the hospital after having been beat up by a drug dealer named Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi). Andy had been smuggling cocaine on freighters for Briggs and had to dump the last package after the DEA had ambushed them. Briggs will kill Andy, if he doesn’t get his money back from the deal, but Chris promises to repay him before any more harm is done. Chris decides to smuggle counterfeit currency from Panama in order to repay the debt, but in order to do so he will have to form a team in the freighter which will allow him to buy more time, while his family is being threatened by Briggs and his gang.
Mark Wahlberg is a true actions tar and he is really entertaining in this movie, but he also had a great secondary cast including Kate Beckinsale who looked lovely as usual, Ben Foster who is always really creepy, Giovanni Ribisi who is always very unpredictable, JK Simmons who has a more serious role despite the fact that he always makes you laugh, and Diego Luna who plays a Panamanian criminal. I really enjoyed Luna`s short performance, his scene was really interesting and one of the highlights of the film. Contraband begins to accumulate the tension as we reach the final climatic scene. I thought it played out perfectly and that the film was really well edited and choreographed. The movie was entertaining from start to finish, it was a well constructed heist thriller (not perfect, but fun nonetheless).