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By Jess Fenton
21st February 2012

Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is an ex-master smuggler turned legit thanks to a wife (Kate Beckinsale) and two sons. He and his best friend Sebastian (Ben Foster) are thrust back into the ring when Chris has to undo a wrong his brother-in-law Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) set into motion. Now he has to do one last job to protect his family from Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), a very unhappy and unhinged drug lord out to settle the debt.

This all-too-familiar, formulaic film may have no ambition, but it's filled with solid performers leaving it sitting averagely in the middle. It’s not a bad film, but it’s not a good film either. The problem lies in the setup of characters; Wahlberg’s Farraday is introduced from the get-go as a master and unbeatable smuggler, where those still in the game are desperately trying to lure him back in. By establishing this, the filmmakers have already eliminated any and all tension that might cross Chris’ path to set him up to fail, because we now know that it’s not possible for him to do so.


The film introduces twists and turns along that way which keep the story moving, but they’re all disjointed and make the film seem like it was several different scripts chopped up, picked apart and put together to finally make ‘Contraband’.

Ben Foster is the strongest player in the cast, who delivers a great performance as a man struggling with demons of all kinds including loyalty to his best friend. Ribisi does what he does best as an oh-so-creepy and disturbed thug ready to crack at any minute. The supporting cast including J.K. Simmons and Diego Luna help create this half-decent action heist flick, ready to leave any testosterone-fuelled male satisfied.

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