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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 2 September 2012
This film has an interesting plot, slightly different from most crime movies in that it is based around the world of smuggling.

The plot is tight, well plotted and paced, with quite a few twists and surprises.

The characters are well played by skilled actors, and you are not sure where some of them stand till the end of the film. This film is all about the characters. But some of the action scenes are superb.

If you like some good action, clever plotting and interesting characters, with a twist of humour, then you'll like this film.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 July 2012
This is a decent action/suspense orientated heist/smuggler movie, which is based on the Icelandic movie Reykjavik Rotterdam & Contraband is directed by the star of that film , Baltasar Kormákur. From Iceland to Rotterdam it gets the full Hollywood treatment & is relocated to New Orleans & Panama, along with a steller cast.

Mark Wahlberg (Planet of the Apes) stars as Chris Farraday, an experienced ex-smuggler who worked on ship freighters, now a respectable business owner fitting security systems. Due to the actions of his wife Kate's (Kate Beckinsale - Underworld) young brother Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), Chirs is forced into doing one big final job to save all they're lives from drug dealer & all round bad guy Brigg's (Giovanni Ribisi -Boiler Room). But things arent going to run as smoothly, as anticipated.

Using a mega 10,000+ ton freighter to traverse contraband & avoid customs may not sound very exciting, but they do manage to make a good attempt of it, with time spent between New Orleans/the freighter/Panama. The story itself isn't chopped full of action either, there are some bits staggered through the film, but it mainly relies on the suspense of Farraday getting the contraband back to the ship in time & unnoticed. The acting was good overall, but it had to hinge on a few of the key characters to make this work. Wahlberg was solid & assured in his action role as usual, meanwhile, Kate Beckinsale as the under pressure mother, Giovanni Ribisi as the scummy baddie & Ben Foster (3.10 To Yuma) as the close friend trying to help them out, all played they're parts to perfection. J.K. Simmons (The Closer) stood out of the rest, as the ship's Captain trying to hinder Farraday.

In conclusion, Contraband is a good action/suspense smuggler flick, that's fast pace helps overlook some of it's weaknesses. If you like Mark Wahlberg's previous films like Shooter or Four Brothers then you'll be in the right frame of mind to enjoy this. Recommended.
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Contraband features Mark Wahlberg (Shooter) as Chris Farraday - a retired smuggler trying to go straight with his local alarm business. His wife's (Kate Beckinsale - Underworld: Awakening) kid brother gets caught plying the family trade and has to ditch his cargo overboard. Resultantly he owes some bad men (Giovanni Ribisi - Middle Men) some serious debt. Chris is forced to pull one last job to clear his brother-in-law's debt to the gangsters whilst they harass his family.

This is a smuggler's film, with stashs and small spaces on the huge cargo ships being used to absolute perfect effect. There is underhand dealing and shoot-outs aplenty as Panama provides the chaotic milieu for this remake of Reykjavik - Rotterdam. And cinematic it is, with some great swooping shots of Panama, the ports and the ship as it glides across the ocean juxtaposed with the grittier, 'at-home' shots of Farraday's wife and kids. The acting is of a great standard for all involved (notably Ben Foster - 30 Days of Night and J.K. Simmons -Spider-Man - plays a hilariously-stern ship's Captain eager to break Farraday's spirit) meaning no-one drops the ball for the entire 110 minute duration which keeps the tension at fever-pitch for the last 40 or so minutes.

So all-in-all, it's a Hollywood remake of a Nordic hit, but it's well-fleshed out and genuinely entertaining with some brilliant tension and solid acting. This is most-definitely worthy of your time. Recommended!!
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on 14 March 2014
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 Ribisi's 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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VINE VOICEon 20 March 2012
Some very good performances liven up what is otherwise a routine, run of the mill thriller. Mark Whalberg plays a reformed drug smuggler just out of prison and married who has to do one last job to help out his brother in law who has got involved with some very nasty gangsters and is in over his head. Yes it's the old honourable retired thief who has to do one last job cliche here and it's Mark Whalberg's turn to play the character going up against a nasty and vicious gangster played by Giovianni Ribisi who is the best one in the film and finding there is no one he can trust. Kate Beckinsale is very good as Mark Whalberg's loyal wife as is Ben Foster as his best friend and some good supporting performances from J K Simmons who you may recognize from tv's Law And Order Special Victims Unit and as newspaper boss J Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spiderman movies and William Lucking from tv show Sons Of Anarchy. Whalberg is fine in the lead. The plot is nothing new but the performances will keep you watching.
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on 27 December 2013
If you're going to watch this film, make sure somebody is paying you. It's slow, lacks any appreciable action and is so predictable. I was more from it and only watched to the end as I was waiting for something to happen. It never did.
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on 2 May 2012
"Contraband" is a 2011 action film starring Mark Wahlberg as a former smuggler reluctantly drawn back into the game for one last score, this time to help his brother-in-law (Caleb Landry Jones) who got in too deep with the bad guys (Giovanni Ribisi).

For the past few years Wahlberg has been cranking out the action films at a pace that truly amazes. He's been nominated twice for an Oscar ("The Fighter" in 2010 and "The Departed" in 2006) and recognized for "Three Kings" (1999), and "Four Brothers" (2005), although my favorite Wahlberg role (and guilty pleasure) "Shooter" (2007) has been ignored on the awards circuit.

If his awards were not sufficient praise, Wahlberg has delivered at the box office. Seven of his films have neared or topped the elusive $100 Million mark, and most of his films have been among the top 10.

And if awards and box office clout aren't enough, Wahlberg has a second career as a producer, a role he served on this film and on Oscar nominated "The Fighter" (2010) as well as several TV series ("Broadwalk Empire", "Entourage").

Unfortunately, Wahlberg is about the best thing in this film, apart from some good action scenes with lots of explosions and a coy performance from J. K. Simmons who apparently got time off from his role as the Police Chief in "The Closer".

Perhaps the problem is with the writers (Aaron Guzikowski, Arnaldur Indrioason, Oskar Jonasson) and director (Baltasar Kormakur), none of whom have much experience with American style action films. But they worked on an Icelandic thriller "Reykjavik-Rotterdam" (2008) and that film was the basis of this one. Or, more likely, the problem is that the villain, Giovanni Ribisi, simply carries no menace. Ribisi is a very talented actor ("Boiler Room", "Saving Private Ryan", "The Rum Diary"), but he's out of his depth in this genre.

Reviews were unanimously poor. Roger Ebert referred to the film as "crap" and said he was getting tired of violent retreads". Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) gave it 2 stars and complained that Wahlberg sleepwalks through the film. The NY Times called the story absurd and referred to the film as "thrill free".

Despite the poor reviews, "Contraband" earned more than $20 Million in its opening weekend and is on schedule to hit the $100 Million mark.

Bottom line - if you're a Mark Wahlberg fan you'll enjoy this one, but it is clearly one of his lesser accomplishments.
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VINE VOICEon 22 July 2013
Contraband features Mark Whalberg in the lead as Chris Farraday, a former criminal who would ship dodgy merchandise into the USA for various amounts of cash. Now going straight and running his own security business he and his family are doing ok. His former associate (played by Ben Foster - who rarely plays a nice guy - check out the Messenger to see him in a different type of role) is also running his own business. Sadly, Chris has a brother-in-law who is a few leaves short of a salad and is still trying to 'import' certain types of merchandise - stuff that Chris himself would never have touched. An unexpected visit from the authorities means he has to dump it and when he returns to dry land the 'business men' who requested the package are upset to say the least when he hasn't got it. With his family now threatened with their very lifes Chris must return to his former career.

The film twists and turns and is an enjoyable ride with Whalberg an engaging presence on the screen. His performance well supported by the excellent Foster, Kate Beckinsale as his wife and Giovanni Ribsi as the hot headed and nasty 'bad guy'. However, the brief efforts of J K Simmons are very much the highlight for me - amusing to say the least.

An excellent friday night thriller type film that you can just sit back and enjoy.
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on 19 April 2012
Mark Wahlberg stars in this excellent crime thriller as Chris Farraday, a retired contraband smuggler who has now set up a legitimate security installation business. When his wife's young brother, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) has to ditch into the sea the cocaine he is smuggling for a bunch of thugs, Chris steps in to find the money to pay them off, or else. He plans to smuggle 'funny money' out of Panama but, as we all know, 'the best laid schemes o' mice an' men' often send you up the canal without a paddle!

Kate Beckinsale slips nicely into a different role from the vampire-killing death-dealer, Selene, in the Underworld movies. In Contraband, she is an ordinary young wife with two young children to protect but they become the target of a drug-smuggling thug, (Giovanni Ribisi) when her husband's plan to bail out her young brother go pear-shaped.

There are some nice twists and turns in this plot and the movie is well worth watching. Quite a few faces that I recognised too. Musician Caleb Landry Jones starred in X-Men First Class (2011), No Country for Old Men (2007), The Last Exorcism (2010), and The Social Network (2010).

Despite him not being your average hunky punk, Giovanni Ribisi plays the tough guy well. He also starred in Saving Private Ryan (1998), Columbus Circle (2012), The Rum Diary (2011), and Avatar (2009).
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on 13 August 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was well acted and kept you on the edge of your seat. It was slightly unbelievable that he managed to get it all sorted out in the end, before the cops and the bad guys could get the cash but it was a feel good movie in the sense that he did. Giovanni Ribisi as the ultimate bad guy and then his lookalike Ben Foster as the equally bad bad guy was a great choice. Mark Wahlberg always makes you feel afraid, yet safe when he's on your side and Kate Beckinsale was great as his wife. I would recommend this film.
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