MINOR SPOILERS. NOTHING GLARING REVEALED.
Mark Wahlberg kicks off 2012 with the new R rated action flick, “Contraband.” Leaving behind a life of crime & going legit is Chris Farraday’s (Mark Wahlberg) new life plan. He’s got two growing sons & a smokin’ hot wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale). In family, there’s always that certain screw up. Someone who’s playing on the wrong side of the tracks. This time it’s his brother-in-law, Andy(Caleb Landry Jones). He’s breaking the law & he’s not very good at it.
In my opinion, drug dealers in Contraband never read the book, Drug Dealing For Dummies. Page 169 clearly states, “No Drug Dealers or Drug Buyers Should Ever Program Each Other’s Last Name Into Their Personal Cell Phones.” Who does that? I’ve watched enough episodes of “24” to know that that leaves a digital trail. So back to the story, Andy gets in way over his head with said drug dealer Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi)(who’s real last name BRIGGS is actually programmed into Andy’s cell phone!) Swear to God.
One more thing I have to call out. During an “un-monitored” maximum security prison visitation, Chris tells his jailbird pop he’s gotta go back into the business of running contraband to bail out his wife’s brother. Hello Guard, anywhere? Hello!! While the first half of the movie is slow-building, things do heat up in the second half.
Panama is pickup point. The clock is ticking because, the ship’s captain (J.K. Simmons) has a schedule to keep. Chris has to obtain ill-gotten booty & get it back onto the ship undetected. During which, he’s got to navigate his way though poverty-stricken streets of Panama with zero GPS, just memory. It’s here where he meets up with an old business contact, a drug lord (Diego Luna) who’s expanding from smuggling, drugs, counter-fitting to armed robbery & murder.
With Briggs terrorizing Chris’ family back on the mainland, he’s gotta score and score big time no matter what or his family is dead. He’s desperate & his actions become more & more daring. The question: How far would you go to save the lives of your wife & kids? The action is there, no doubt about that. I just wish the film on the whole was more clever ala 2003’s “The Italian Job.”
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