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Contraband is Paint by Numbers
toddatthemovies13 January 2012
Contraband is a paint by numbers action/thriller. It would be easy to pick on everything that this movie wasn't, but can you blame chicken nuggets for being chicken nuggets? With a rookie screenwriter at the helm, the script suffers from a mash-up of cliché's. They start with "One last heist" and end with "If you want to save your family you'll do as you're told". There were many déjà-vu moments of been there and done that.

The star power was strong, but given so very little to work with in the way of character back story. All the characters were two dimensional representations of stereotypes. The locations (New Orleans & Panama) were interesting choices but never really quite fit. While the movie wasn't action packed, it moved at a good pace and kept my interest the whole time. The film work was solid as a whole. There was one particular action sequence that takes place around the halfway mark that was done very well.

If you have a craving that only chicken nuggets will satisfy, then I think you will come away fairly happy. Not a necessity to see on the big screen, but that helps it a little. Leave your thinking cap outside, that's the contraband that will keep you from enjoying this as it was intended.
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Good Wahlberg action movie. Strong storytelling after the cliché start.
MosHr11 January 2012
Contraband starts like "Gone in 60 Seconds", but instead of boosting cars it's about smuggling contraband, and like GI6S it's because of an idiot younger brothers and familial responsibilities that brings an ex-criminal/smuggler out of retirement for that one last job. Chris our smuggler protagonist is deemed the Houdini of smuggling but in reality, he's a general super bad-ass who can talk fast, kick ass and smuggle at superhero levels. We are then treated to the Mark Wahlberg show where it's hard to imagine anything adverse happening to him and we just go along with the ride.

The movie is at its best after it sheds its GI6S intro and moves to the nitty gritty details of smuggling. The movie feels at home at sea where everything is calculated and ordered, but while on land, the movie is always bizarre, violent and out of control. This lends for some really angular storytelling that keeps the movie exciting and interesting.

It's great to see Kate Beckinsdale in the movies again though she plays the wife whose main role is to look great and be in distress, a far cry from her iconic Underworld Selene or from her last movie Whiteout.

On the whole it's a good action movie and if you liked Mark Wahlberg's previous movies like the Italian Job and Shooter, you will also like this.
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A slightly above average thriller
DoctorRabbit8 April 2012
If you've seen the trailer, you can already tell that Contraband really doesn't have anything new to offer as a film. It has a typical heist/revenge thriller plot with some thrills and good action sequences. However, Contraband manages to be a slightly better than your typical thriller.

Mark Wahlberg gives a really good performance and Giovanni Ribisi did a really great job as the films over-the-top villain. The film does a great job of getting down the gritty tone and gives the film a realistic feel to it. I also enjoyed how instead of being a straight out action flick, the film actually took time to develop what they had with the plot and show the whole set up of the heist.

For most of it's nearly 2 hour runtime, Contraband kept me entertained for the most part. It still suffers from it's expected flaws. The plot isn't exactly strong and is pretty convoluted and very predictable. I also didn't care for the way the film wrapped up.

Overall, there really isn't a whole lot about to say about Contraband, but I would highly recommend it to someone who is looking for a good rental. If you like Marky Mark, than it's worth a shot.
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Mark Walberg is Great in Intense Contraband
CaptMTS13 January 2012
Contraband is a well-made action film with strong acting, good directing, and great cinematography that draws you into New Orleans, Panama, and their freight ship. Mark Walberg plays a man pulled back into his smuggling past to right the wrongs of his naive brother-in-law and protect his family.

Mark Walberg is excellent as the lead character. He is strong in the action scenes on his smuggling trip to Panama , and he is just as good in dramatic scenes calling his wife to help her back home. He is a strong protagonist who is likable and draws a lot of empathy as he tries to fight the bad guys and save his family.

Walberg is supported by a strong cast. Giovannis Ribisi does well as a dirty, corrupt smuggler who terrorizes his family, Ben Foster is excellent as Walberg's recovering addict and alcoholic ex-smuggling parter who struggles to do the right thing. And, Kate Beckinsale is great as Walberg's wife, who also must fight to protect her family.

The director does a great job of building intensity throughout the film. He brings the audience into the smuggling trade in a realistic and believable manner. And, the director effectively engages the audience in the drama and action at three locations simultaneously as the film builds to its resolution back in New Orleans.

Overall, the film is a strong action film. If you dismiss the standard plot and some lapses of reality, you'll enjoy the intense action, strong acting, and great scenery. Catch Contraband in the theaters to enjoy it on the big screen.

Just be careful about smuggling your own candy into the theater.
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Contraband- 5 category review
nathan-27613 January 2012
Directing 6/10- Some unique and intriguing shots, but nothing too rememberable Acting 8.5/10- The acting is the category that without a doubt, stole the show. Solid efforts from the entire cast but the film really benefited from tremendous performances from Ribisi and Landry Jones. Screenplay 4/10- The screenplay is fun no doubt and benefits from decent pacing and a few intense action sequences but the film lacks originality, stealing concepts and at times, lines. Visual effects 5/10- The visual effects were average. I can't completely fault a film for not using unnecessary visuals. Sound effects/Music 5/10- The sound effects were fine, nothing misplaced there. The music was again just OK, sometimes the music was great and mixed well with the action going on but in some the haunting/emotional scenes the music didn't make the scene 'better', which is what it should do. Overall, the film is just another forgettable action film. The film has decent enough story (though cliché), with great acting and some fun action sequences that make the film at least worth a viewing.
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One of Mark's Best
farrell dsouza12 January 2012
From the very beginning to the dramatic end, the movie is thrilling. There is not a scene in the movie which drags the story and every bit is to a point. His acting is simple, on point and brilliant as usual and this is one of the best smuggling films i would add to, after Italian job and various others make to a good list. The fact that it brings family, friendship, love, hate, betrayal and the usual bad guy in the film may make it sound all ordinary as most of the films have almost the same characters these days, but the reason i would ask you guys to watch this film is because the touch it has unlike most of them out these days.

I don't think timing is any bit of a problem in this movie and the way in which the scenes unfold is what i think keep you at the edge of your seat through the movie. Anywhoo, A must watch! I loved it personally.
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Biggest disappointment of 2012,
vitaleralphlouis24 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
It speaks poorly of today's moviegoers that anyone would rate this turkey higher than 3. The continuity, photography, lighting, and direction are atrocious. The story makes no sense; and the screen is too dark to see much of anything 20% of the time.

I like Mark Walberg, and I just love Kate Beckensale; but I challenge anyone to tell us what she was wearing in ANY of her many scenes. The photography was so bad, and the choppy camera-hop was like an ADD kid was running things.

This one played and died quickly in theaters, so we caught it on DVD. It cost us $1.60 for the rental' 80 cents each. This movie is not worth 80 cents.
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Exciting thriller
elizabethann31316 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Contraband is an exciting thriller full of suspense with a slight bit of comedy. Mark Wahlberg is always a fan favorite with his sarcasm and flattering physique. The movie takes place in New Orleans near the shipping yards where all the material is received to sell on the black market. Chris Farraday (Wahlberg) is a retired smuggler turned family man who now owns his own business selling alarm systems. Farraday is forced back into the contraband game when his brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), owes his boss, Tom Briggs, a large sum of money due to the drug deal he failed to deliver. Everything does not go according to plan when Farraday goes to Panama with his team of smugglers to repay Andy's debt. The film is listed as an action movie but the action doesn't really start till half way through. The background of the story is delivered in a timely manner letting us know what will happen in the movie. Once the movie finally reaches the action in Panama the audience is at the edge of their seats. The ending reveals an unexpected twist that I thoroughly enjoyed. Overall it is another great movie with Wahlberg that I would recommend to friends.
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totally predicted and targeted to the wrong crowd
dcobbimdb2 September 2012
I don't know where to begin with this. I love action flicks, dramas, suspense and anything that involves heists, drug stuff or any of that kind of gist as a movie fan I just love, so this was right up my ally all the way. More so the main actor I've grown to like, so I thought this was a slam dunk, shockingly so not true...

Honestly I though the plot while fairly straight forward was telegraphed a mile away and only the mentally challenged doused with a a six pack, a dose of meth-amphetamines and a broken weegie board could get confused about. At about a 1/3 of the way into it you start to ask yourself is anybody not double crossing this guy and is this not blatantly clear?

Far as some redeeming qualities At some points it makes a stab at being something noteworthy but more or less it's you following the ball along an easily laid out path which unfortunately makes it rather boring.

Final thoughts... I'm blown away, here is a movie which ranks decent far as every type of movie I should aught to like, so I should have liked it in almost every sense... In the end I guess me being a father with young kids of my own or what I don't know but I'm calling BS on this whole damn gig... I really hope someone with some brains reads this and hears it. We "guys" who dig on action flicks do so because it takes us away from reality, not into it. Those of us who may know a glimpse of that life with families and kids wouldn't even dare take a step back into that world let alone for some POS brother in law who dug his own grave. End of game...

Bad and telegraphed story, less than memorable performances by all actors even the main character, and a lukewarm story which left me rooting for the snobby ship captain because I'd simply seen him in something else and remember liking either him or his character but not enough to remember what it was aught to tell you all you need to know...
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HATED this movie.Slow, poor acting and writing.
Birminghamukengland20 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I was stuck for a film to see today so thought I'd go for this as had seen some good reviews.

I was wary as I really don't think Mark Whalberg is a good actor. He's not had professional training and it shows in my opinion, in all his films I've seen. He lacks emotional depth and it's almost acting by numbers. People who just 'turn to' acting do not have the necessary foundation skills to craft and hone over time as they've not studied it professionally. I know some people will disagree with my comments.

I could not empathise or sympathise with ANY of these characters. The story is based in the drugs culture with Whalberg's character almost glamorising drug/money smuggling. Certainly no moral ethics are seen here. I couldn't have cared less if his wife got buried in concrete in a plastic bag with her mobile phone to be honest. How can you sympathise with characters who are so caught up in their needs being met through a life of crime without even thinking of the impact of their behaviours and actions on others? Whalberg appears very bored right the way through. I don't know if anyone saw him on the Graham Norton show, but he said he was tired and couldn't be bothered on that too and it showed. Perhaps he needs to retire now? The rest of the cast were very average. The direction was unremarkable as were the action scenes.

I came out of the cinema just as the credits started to roll and felt angry that I'd sat through something which ultimately gave the message that drug crime pays. Try telling that to those of us who have or have had relatives who are hooked on the stuff and the shear hell it causes everyone else around them.

Hated this film with avengence.
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timrlarson-639-84006011 March 2012
Don't believe the reviewers, this action packed adventure thrilled and entertained the entire audience. Even got spotty applause which is a rarity except for the most exceptional films.

Great camera work gave exciting glimpses of the Panama Canal, the Canal Zone and the port of New Orleans.

Contraband is a perfect portrayal of the gritty life of crime, and the amoral people who live it. Several exciting twists and turns make the ending a surprise not even my genius plot detective wife could figure out beforehand.

Mark Wahlberg continues to give us one realistic performance after another. Leave the kids at home and go see this action packed thriller.
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Great Action Film with Many Twists
Claudio Carvalho28 July 2012
In New Orleans, the former smuggler Chris Faraday (Mark Wahlberg) has regenerated and raised a family of his own with his wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale) and their two children. Chris works in installation of alarms and his father in locked in prison for smuggling.

When his brother-in-law Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) dumps in the sea water 10 pounds of cocaine that he is smuggling for the drug lord Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) to escape from the custom officers, Chris is forced to pay Andy's debts to protect the youngster and his own family. Chris leaves his wife and children under the protection of his best friend Sebastian Abney (Ben Foster) and travels in a Container Carrier to Panama to bring counterfeit bills and raise the money to pay Briggs. But Briggs and his partner want to force Chris to smuggle drugs and will use his family to reach their objective. Meanwhile Chris is betrayed and gets in trouble in Panama.

"Contraband" is a great action film with an engaging story that combines action, thriller and drama. The cast is excellent with Mark Wahlberg in the lead role and Giovanni Ribisi is almost unrecognizable in the role of a cruel drug dealer. The plot has many twists with betrayals and the cinematography in New Orleans and Panama is wonderful. The ironic conclusion is a sort of contemporary "The Sting". My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Contrabando" ("Contraband")
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Bogdan Robu7 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In a word, horrible. The film has a predictable action, evil gets it, everything ends well and Mark Wahlberg something stronger than Chuck Norris.

Who wrote the script i do not think has more than 12 years, like when the police get to the captain house,arrested him and the two criminals when captain could simply say "No sir,everything is OK" or criminals could threaten him to keep quiet. Or Biggs which goes every 10 minutes and threatened his wife Faradday. Everything seems so hair pulled and fake.

I think it's the worst film I've seen of Kate Beckinsale,i don't understand how could she accept to play in such a miserable,2 penny, movie.
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Unbelievably bad, 10 insane plot lines twisting around.
tombuddingh21 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers

Mark Wahlberg in this movie has to face insane odds, and beats them all with magical luck and his super smuggler brains. His stupid friend keeps making unbelievably bad decisions, of course. There are some really really evil characters as well, and of course all the evil ones do drugs and the goodies have all gone straight. Luckily, despite everyone seeming to want to ruin Mark's family for no reason whatsoever, the motives being very unclear, Mark manages to save his family and become a multimillionaire and lived happily ever after. The movie also shows us that the bad guys went to prison and were beaten up by the other inmates, of course! This movie just made me angry that it had a decent IMDb score and that it pretended to be somewhat on the scale of possible, so I don't use the phrase 'realistic' because that would be another spectrum. Very frustrating to watch a cast and budget botched so badly.
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Well, the one sheet looks good.....
FlashCallahan12 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Chris Faraday once smuggled illegal items or contraband into the country on freighters.

He left that life behind, got married has a family and went legit. But when his brother-in-law gets involved with Briggs, a drug dealer and when blows a deal, Briggs demands restitution which he can't deliver.

So Chris offers to find a way to pay him but the he threatens Chris' family if he doesn't deliver.

So he gets on a freighter destined for Panama and he sets out to bring back some counterfeit currency. Briggs "goes to see" Chris' family.

When Chris learns of this he asks his friend Sebastian to take care of them which he does. He tells Chris that it would be better to bring drugs instead of the cash.....

The one rule that film makers should know now is that if you hire Ben Foster, everyone will know his character will turn out to be a bad apple come the end, no matter what. This has been evident since X-Men: The Last Stand.

But thats not the problem with he film, the problem with he film is the lack of flow with he story, and the worst narrative I have ever endured. The film is bad on many levels, and it just gets the extra star for one confrontation between Marky Mark and Ribisi.

The cast seem really out of place, and Farraday never really seems to feel any urgency throughout the movie, despite his wife and kids being in danger, and Ribisis continuing threats.

All in all it's a very badly made movie, not knowing whether to be Heat one minute, or the Italian job the next.
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I Contra - banned this movie from my house
Jay Skebo12 July 2012
This movie wasn't half as good as a Tuesday special full roast chicken from Metro for $6.99. The movies starts off really promising with Marky Mark lifting weights, installing security systems and driving his truck over sidewalks. According to the special features Mark had to sit on four phone books to reach the pedals. Speaking of Special Features the only Special Feature Marky Mark has is that his brother Donnie has been carrying him for years! Anyways, I digress.

Contraband is a movie about a group of smug smugglers who try to smuggle something somewhere, or something. I don't really know to be honest. Giovanni Ribisi is trying to channel Marlon Brando, but unfortunately for him he just sounds like somebody beat his mouth in with a Louisville slugger. They got Ben Foster to be in the movie by lying to him and telling him that this wasn't a Marky Mark film. Then on the last day of shooting surprise! You've been Marked! That's what he calls it when he tricks people to be in his movies, which obviously he has to do. Quick, whats a good Marky Mark movie? You probably said Notting Hill….but guess what?!?! Marky Mark isn't in Notting Hill, you just got Marked!

All in all I would give Contraband one VHS tape out of ten. If Marky Mark wants to keep his career going he is going to need to do a buddy cop movie with brother Donnie very soon and call it Baston Brothers.
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Just an awful movie
John Smith26 April 2012
There are just a few movies I actually stopped watching in the middle. Contraband is one of them. I actually decided to make an account on IMDb just to give it a review.

The story doesn't make any sense and has too many holes in it. Its way too long for no reason.

Contraband would be much more enjoyable were it the least plausible and make a little sense.

As it is it really is a joke and the writers must either think we are IQ-free or they snorted way too much coke while writing the scenario.

I won't go into details to avoid spoilers but I'm sure those who want to check will find everything in other critics and forum entries.
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Implausible story.
PWNYCNY15 February 2012
If you like movies where every principal character is a bad guy, then this movie will definitely be for you. Plausibility is thrown to the wind as the creators of this movie have a field day showing what happens when bad guys are in conflict with even badder guys. The problem with the story is that the "good" guy is really a bad guy who is trying to pass himself off as a good guy, which is so phony that even the other characters in the story don't believe it, and if they don't believe it, then don't expect the audience to believe it either. Mark Wahlberg is a wonderful actor and he proves it again in this movie. But he can't overcome his character's incomprehensible behavior. It's one thing for one brother to want to help out another brother - that is altruistic. However, it's something else entirely when the same brother does exactly the same thing that got the other brother into trouble. Nevertheless, there is some good acting and Kate Beckinsdale is as usual beautiful and probably played the most believable role.
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Awful movie
gustok26 May 2012
Awfully horrible movie. It starts with unreal characters. Panama's part is nothing but a handful of clichés. Specially Diego Luna's character. He plays the usual Latino crazy gangsta but he ain't pulling it off this time. Also the triangle between Whalberg, Beskinsale and Foster is beyond credibility. Not a 5 year old could buy it. I didn't know the director but I read he's from Iceland. Maybe he should think about leaving Hollywood and going back to Iceland's lingering movie scene. The producer has got his quota of failure. Getting helicopters, big boats and an uncommon location doesn't gives you an action flick. A 100 minutes video clip with dreadful performances and lousy photography. Avoid it.
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Enjoyable heist
joanl-114 January 2012
I really enjoyed this film. Altho some characters are expected, there are some new characters who I found interesting. Enough unexpected turns to keep me interested. And the plot is easy to follow, not some fantastic indecipherable thriller you can never figure out. A lot of the movie is shot in shipping yards of New Orleans and Panama including the locks. Also credits were given to Iceland and not sure what that was. Liked Mark Wahlberg, and David O'Hara (and his Scottish accent) was a surprise. Not enough car chases for other reviewers? Not enough sex, werewolves, vampires, or torture, drug use or sci-fi story lines? Too bad. A great and clever heist with some nice twists. Very enjoyable.
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100% implausible
Sil7 April 2012
Contraband would be much more enjoyable were it the least plausible and make a little sense.

As it is it really is a joke and the writers must either think we are IQ-free or they snorted way too much coke while writing the scenario.

I won't go into details to avoid spoilers but I'm sure those who want to check will find everything in other critics and forum entries.

It is still a perfectly watchable action movie thanks to a great cast (but please never use Kate Beckinsale's hairdresser ever again) if you really have 2 hours to loose but otherwise you absolutely can avoid watching it.
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Another January Dud.
tinpumpkins14 January 2012
I will start this review by saying - Where was the press release on this movie? I knew nothing about it until two weeks prior.

To the film itself...we have nothing original here. Yes, it's true, every film now-a-days tends to slightly mirror another film, but this film in particular has the familiarity of having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It might be okay for some people once and a while, but most people want something a little more filling and unpredictable.

Let's look at the flaws...

1.) Mark Wahlberg is fine, but we've seen him sleep walk his way through movies like this many times already. It's always been tough to see him seriously as the "action hero" he's been taking on lately. I'd like to see him expand out and do more films like "The Fighter" or "I Heart Huckabees". The rest of the cast is fine, but it's only fine - No one is doing anything that they wouldn't normally play...everyone is in a comfort zone and there is nothing to care about for any of the characters on screen.

2.) 0% Originality. That wouldn't be terrible...sometimes you just need a good old action film to get you through the day...but this has no glamor and no game. Some action films seem like they're made up of "best of" moments from previous action films, and this feels like they've borrowed a lot of "worst of" moments.

3.) No action. I'm serious. There is one scene that almost makes it to a thrilling full on chase, but is short lived, and is over before you care. Occasionally someone will get punched in the face, and there are way too many gun pointing in faces, but that's it.

Let's look at what's good...

1.) J.K. Simmons is the one guy who breathes a little life into the ensemble. Yes, he's still the fast talking funny man, but he's put a nice little twist on what he usually is stuck with and is the only compelling person to watch on screen...

2.) It's got a good run time. Just under 2 hours - If only they had the right material to put in those two hours...

3.) Decent standard action soundtrack.

3 stars out of 10. If you liked this movie or you would like a better recommendation on a similar sort of film... check out "Gone In 60 Seconds" or "Oceans Eleven".

Over and dead,

Fox Rain Matthews
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Don't Waste Your Time. Piece of crap! We turned it off after 15 minutes.
Mark Anderson13 June 2012
I love crime movies, and I love the main actors in this film. But when my sons and I sat down to watch it, after 15-20 minutes, once we knew where the whole thing was going - the big problem had they had to solve, so to speak. And not one of us gave a rip...

It was like, "Wait you want me to sit through another hour and a half to find out they accomplish what I couldn't care less about." No thanks.

Should have known to avoid this thing when it said this was the director's first Hollywood film (on IMDb). Hard to believe they got all the actors to sign on, unless they did it somewhat as charity to help New Orleans, where it was filmed. I grew up across the lake from New Orleans, and that wasn't even enough to make me want to sit through the rest of it.
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Solid entertainment
SteveMierzejewski19 April 2012
It is kind of in vogue to dismiss such crime/action dramas as being predictable and cliché. The same can be said for almost any movie genre, come to think of it. This may simply be because there are only a number of templates a movie can fit into. So I'm going to pretend that I don't know a template exists. And it you treat Contraband in this way, you'll have a good time watching it.

I thought the plot was varied enough and the acting was good enough. Yes, of course, there were times that you think, "How lucky they were to get away with this just in time!", if you know what I mean. But then, if they got caught, the movie would be over in 35 minutes and quite a few audience members would be demanding a refund. You've got to suspend belief if you want to enjoy such movies.

As far as the acting goes, the good guys were good enough and the bad guys were bad enough. Actually, they were a little more complicated than that and I had no complaints about the acting. In fact, I'd like to say a few words about Mark Wahlburg. Here's a guy who's always going to give a credible performance. Certainly, he's been stereotyped into these tough, lower class, bad-boys-gone-good roles, but he never disappoints the viewer. I'd like to see him in something with a little more depth because my guess is he would handle it well.

So if you are looking for a movie that will give you some good entertainment and a little more besides, just suspend your belief and enjoy Contraband.
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What exactly was the point of this movie?
DBLurker16 April 2017
From start till the end, Mark's character, our protagonist, is shown as the golden boy who is not only awesome at doing what he does, but just cannot take a misstep that will result in total failure even if he's forced to do something.

He breezes through all challenges in his path while the "big bad" guys spend time trying to act scary or plotting something, while being one of THE lamest bad guys I've ever seen. They not only DON'T look threatening, but they act that way as well.

There comes only ONE moment where I felt "Hmm, wow, they actually did that?" concerning the death of a main character, but they even chicken out of that in a few minutes.

Seriously, what exactly IS the point of this movie? Is it to show how awesome Mark's character is? Cause the ending not only shows that but proves it. It's ridiculous.

This movie is a really dumb "action" (if you call people walking around fast "action", then I guess..) movie that fails to be a "entertaining" dumb action movie. Meh!
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