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Contraband More at IMDbPro »

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Keeps adrenaline flowing

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
28 November 2016

This film tells the story of a ex smuggler who turned clean. His brother in law gets into trouble with a drug lord, and he has to go to Panama to do shady businesses to get things right. However, the journey is a bumpy one because there is seemingly no one he can trust.

The plot is an exciting one, because there is one situation after another. The constant struggles and fights with both the dark side and the bright side keeps the adrenaline going, especially when you think you can trust someone but you really cannot. It is also refreshing to see that the man hero is not portrayed to be invincible, but a regular guy who people can relate to.

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Average at best.

Author: Ian Wood
17 October 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Today's film I randomly caught on TV. I was hooked from the start, wasn't even in the mood for a movie, it just caught my eye.

It seems like such a generic film, nothing overly interesting or original about the plot, it's carried by great actors. Marky Mark puts in some work, being a large portion of why I even continued to watch this movie. The script seems to be a mash up of clichés, from the one last heist to the we have your family bit.

It isn't something you need to see, but it's something worth seeing.


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Entertaining but forgettable

Author: juneebuggy from Canada
27 January 2016

This was a pretty good heist thriller. I thought the story was unique (although I'm not sure just how feasible it would be) the location too, I haven't seen many movies aboard freighters in the Panama Canal before. The action scenes exciting, the cast more than decent and a pretty great ending, again not sure exactly how "that" all worked out but it was fun.

There isn't anything particularly stand out here though, and this is one of those "almost" movies that just falls short. I'm sure I won't remember anything about it a week from now but it was entertaining while I was watching. The cast is excellent, Mark Wahlberg is doing one of his standard roles -tough family guy but Ben Foster, Diego Luna, Giovanni Ribi play some great characters and really sink their teeth in. J.K. Simmons, Kate Beckinsale, & Lukas Haas also impressed.

The story follows Chris Farraday as a former smuggler who after going legit and settling into a stable life with his wife and sons finds himself back in the game when his brother in law botches a deal with a ruthless drug lord. In a bid to help save his life and settle the debt Chris finds himself making one last run, which sees him aboard a freighter to Panama where he has set up a counterfeiting deal. Nothing goes according to plan and Farraday faces vicious criminals, corrupt officials and trigger happy hit men in a bid to help his desperate brother in law and wife back home. 1/4/16

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Contraband? More like Contra 'bad' !

Author: Carlos Barton from United Kingdom
17 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After only reviewing movies recently which I find to be perfect, time to look at Contraband, something that in one scene, completely rips off an excellent moment from Heat, which turns out to be one of my all time favourite films.

Plotwise, this young drug smuggler gets in trouble with his boss for losing some dope, so his older brother, a retired smuggler, hatches a plan to get some fake currency from Panama City to New Orleans.

Sadly, from the get-go, this movie becomes hideously clichéd and for the most of the movie, as many other reviewers have pointed out, it's by-the-numbers from there. Thankfully you have Everest director Baltasar Kormákur to help salvage the film.

Acting is fairly average, but many are hindered by the terrible writing. Mark Wahlberg gives his all and puts in a very reliable performance, while Ben Foster, who some consider to be one of the most underrated actors of his generation, produces scene-stealing work, and without giving away a twist about his character half-way through.

J.K. Simmons produces mild comic relief, while everyone else is 'meh'. By the way, the worst job is by Giovanni Ribisi, although if he didn't try to put on an awful and unrecognizable (Southern?) accent he may well have made an effective adversary that actually belonged in the movie.

It might sound like a strange thing to say, but Contraband had potential. If the story had the same basic plot motivation, but was modified by an established screenwriter, you had way less 'shaky cam' and zooming, the editing was less frenetic in places (excellent in the action scenes, though) and there was a better director, someone in the mould of Ridley Scott, for example, this might still be talked about today, 3 years later.

Alas, I have to say, I just wasted 2 hours of my life watching this.

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Mark Wahlberg as smuggler by container ship

Author: msroz from United States
1 September 2015

"Contraband" (2012) has a decent action story with good twists. Its setting is interesting, involving a container ship and smuggling from Panama. These are what keep the movie afloat, along with Wahlberg's strong and confident screen persona, supported well here by a capable cast.

However, the movie has some large defects. The camera work shakes excessively almost constantly. Combine this with dark lighting and overly quick film editing and the result is a jumble in way too many scenes. This is the equivalent of amateurs throwing paint on canvas and declaring it as art. In addition, the dialog is pedestrian.

Compared with other contemporary Hollywood action fare, this movie is at best average or below average. It's simply passing light entertainment.

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Very Typical Action with a Story more Complicated than it needs to be,

Author: Dillon Harris from Ireland
16 May 2015

Contraband is a very poor movie with an average storyline and a decent cast. It's simply a very typical action thriller, it's nothing more than that, it never try's to be anything more, the cast knew what is was and because of that they delivered very uninspired performances, there is nothing that makes this movie special or different whatsoever. I did think it had some good tense scenes that the movie needed more of, parts that got the audience nervous and anxious, those were certainly the best parts, I think the scene towards the beginning between Mark Wahlberg and Giovanni Ribisi was one of the best parts as we got to see the actors shine and it was quite intense. The films plot is definitely the weakest aspect of this, it starts off so simple that your brain isn't bothered to pay too much attention to it, and eventually becomes so convoluted that you can't keep up, it all comes together at the end but I was certainly scratching my head for a while. It's not terrible, but there is nothing special or unique about Contraband, which I think every movie should be in some way, and because of that I wouldn't recommend it.

When his brother in law falls in debt with a murderous drug lord, a former smuggler returns to a life of crime.

Best Performance: Mark Wahlberg Worst Performance: Kate Beckinsale

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Hollow, yet perfectly watchable

Author: Adam Peters from Birkenhead United Kingdom
24 April 2015

(62%) An entertaining crime B-movie that marks a small improvement over the usual multiplex filler you always seem to find at the first quarter of the year. The cast is quite strong with the always decent Mark Wahlberg leading the way, and with the likes of Ben Foster, Kate Beckinsale, J.K Simmons and show stealer Giovanni Ribisi all forming a respectable package. The pacing is pretty decent; although this is more of a thriller than an all-out action film so don't expect tons of action. The script is very Hollywood at times and there's not a whole lot to get your teeth into, but overall this is a watchable time-passer coupled with a respectable cast and basic cinematic fun.

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Illicit goods

Author: Guy from UK
12 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

CONTRABAND is a wretched script elevated by some decent Scandi direction. The plot sees Marky Mark as an ex-smuggler who - who'd have guessed it? - gets pulled back in for one last job, after his brother in law loses a cargo that belonged to the wrong people. Soon he's got the old crew back together and they're off to Panama to pick up the goods, whilst his wife gets hassled by a thug from the same gang (which isn't entirely convincing as Kate Beckinsale looks like she could take Giovanni Ribisi in a fair fight anyday) and also by the ex-alcoholic friend he left behind to look after her. Smuggling is an interesting subject which is under-represented cinematically, although this film doesn't help because it's far more interested in heists and thuggery than in how the smuggling actually works. The aforementioned heist in Panama is the best part of the film, even if the plan makes no sense and leads to nearly everyone involved dying. The final outcome is never in doubt and the acting is pure formality but it rattles along, the location shooting is nice and the subject is just different enough to make this watchable.

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Author: mrpoizun from USA
15 January 2015

If all you want is an entertaining action film, this one is completely acceptable. Mark Wahlberg plays Mark Wahlberg, and I happen to like his usual screen persona, that of likable tough guy. But this movie does require a LOT of suspension of disbelief. Fist of all, there's the casting. The worst is Giovanni Ribisi. A less-imposing bad guy you'll never see. His weird high-pitched voice with an indecipherable accent along with a few verbal ticks will have you wondering why anyone would be afraid of him. Then there's Kate Beckinsale. It's impossible to believe that this elegant British beauty could be the foul-mouthed trailer park trash wife of a lowlife ex-smuggler. Even more laughable is the guy who plays her brother, a greasy, zit-faced, moronic little dweeb who couldn't possibly be related to her unless he was adopted from the pound. Beyond that, there are the usual absurdities of movies. The police never show up unless the script requires their presence, there's seldom any consequences for criminal acts, etc. In the end, Wahlberg is really just as bad as any other criminal. He's just more likable and intelligent. And the movie is an interesting look into the world of contraband smuggling on cargo ships. Have fun watching it. But be sure to check your sense of reality at the door.

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Good Enough to Pass the Time

Author: Sahl_95 from United Kingdom
28 December 2014

"Contraband" stars Mark Wahlberg as a retired master smuggler who has to do one last job to save his dim-witted brother in-law after he messed up a job.

This movie isn't great. However, it isn't bad either. It is good enough to pass a couple of hours and keeps your attention. It does have its clichés - one last job, obvious betrayals among a few. It also has some cool action scenes. The ending is also very predictable. Despite these issues, the movie is mostly entertaining. There are also some good performances in this movie (favourites being Mark Wahlberg and J.K. Simmons) which always helps.

There are better action/heist movies out there, but this is a decent watch when there is nothing else on.

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