Movie Review: Contraband

By Cher Cabula-Mendoza - Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When I got invited to watch the press screening of Contraband at the Solar Preview Room (which has wicked acoustics by the way), I came home pleasantly surprised that I liked the movie. The movie reminded me a bit of Gone in 60 seconds with similarities in the plot but not with the carjacking and stuff. Take it from someone who doesn’t immediately warm up to any heist film, Contraband was really good.

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In the movie, Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) turned his back on a life of crime when he settled for family life however, he was forced to go back to smuggling again when his wife’s (Kate Beckinsale) brother-in-law Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) botched up a smuggling job for Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi). While onboard a ship, Chris entrusted his wife and kids to his best friend Sebastian (Ben Foster). Facing shifting loyalties and complications while on the heist, Chris has to juggle completing the job at hand and protecting his family from Briggs and his cronies.

The Cast

While Mark Wahlberg spearheaded the cast of characters, I didn’t really find anything special with his acting. It wasn’t great yet it wasn’t bad either. It was typical Marky Mark brand of acting. Yet he carried the movie well. He made it believable that it’s possible for a guy who has lived a life of crime be able to turn a 360 and turn legit.

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For those of you who doesn’t know who Ben Foster is, well he was Angel in the last Xmen film. In Contraband however, he was playing the role of Chris Farraday’s best friend. I don’t know but it must be the shape of his face or the way he wore those leather jackets but he reminded me so much of Ryan Gosling. I gotta say though, his acting was really intense and maniacal.

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I’ve always admired the acting prowess of Giovanni Ribisi and as a villain, he was pretty convincing. Him being the bad guy was the kind that spelled power and influence but is riddled with comical vulnerability that makes you want to hate and laugh at him at the same time.

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The Verdict

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Contraband despite the bad reviews you’ve been hearing milling around was a good entertaining movie. The twists were unexpected and it had plenty of heart-stopping scenes. I like that it wasn’t trying to be overly flashy, in fact it had B-movie stamped all over it BUT I think that’s part of its charm. Best to enjoy with a big bowl of popcorn.

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