The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Contraband | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Contraband

Directed by: Baltasar Kormakur
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Giovanni Ribisi, Ben Foster, Lukas Haas

This remake of an Icelandic thriller will leave viewers cold.
When Beckinsale's younger brother botches a smuggling job, her ex-smuggler husband Wahlberg embarks on one last job to clear the debt and save his family.
The artist formerly known as Marky Mark seems to be filling the vacuum left by Nicolas Cage. Once the star of pre-summer blockbusters like "Gone In Sixty Seconds", Cage is now rightly recognised as box-office poison. Enter Wahlberg to take the lead in fare like this. He seems to be an actor who wears his own clothes, usually some manner of tight T-shirt and leather jacket combo. Here he sports the same outfit through the entire movie, despite becoming a multi-millionaire at one point in the narrative. I guess he would call that "keeping it real".
He's not the worst actor in this ensemble though. That honor falls to Ribisi who adopts a deeply irritating nasal twang and is thoroughly unconvincing as a high level gang leader. Foster too is awful, an addiction to lollipops being his idea of character depth. Beckinsale feels thoroughly miscast as a criminal's wife.
The movie seems tonally confused, unable to decide whether it's a gritty crime drama or a fun caper flick. In one scene Wahlberg and Haas unwittingly contribute to the shocking massacre of an armoured car crew yet are back to cracking jokes immediately after.
This is a remake of the Icelandic movie "Reykyavik:Rotterdam". Curiously the original director turned this down so it's helmed by it's lead actor.
I struggle to imagine this finding an appreciative audience. It's too gritty for the blockbuster crowd, too dumb for anyone looking for a serious crime drama.