Marky Mark's Wild Bunch


13 January 2012| No Comments on Contraband     by Sean Chavel


Not that good, but not bad enough to do any damage to Mark Wahlberg’s fan base. Nobody expects an early January month release to be good at all, but what’s surprising, is that Contraband had the elements to be a good thriller. I actually learned something about big stakes smuggling and how illegal imports could possibly be snuck onto a commercial freighter. There is some exciting photography that captures this loading and stashing, and I was particularly ecstatic about one shot that involves a truck sliding off a cargo freight lifted in mid-air. But the movie is downgraded by the typical ridiculous clichés that you find in B-movie quickies. It all gluts away at what could have been a good thing. 

Wahlberg is Chris Farraday, a one-time rogue smuggler who has gone legit with a home security alarm business (I wish there had been more scenes of Wahlberg working his installation trade). Like every movie antihero, he is sucked back into the underworld to do one last job. His adoring but unprincipled wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale) needs him to risk his neck, otherwise it will be off with her brother’s head.

The no-nonsense mobster Tim (Giovanni Ribisi) won’t hurt Kate’s brother as long as he gets a lion’s share that will absolve all debts. Ribisi, quasi-hidden in a beard and goatee-wise he can to look white trash, acts in raving circles – he’s a wild card / loose cannon / nutzoid killer. But Ribisi can stammer and screech and look conk-eyed all he wants. We all know underneath all that acting exterior he is… Giovanni Ribisi. He doesn’t fool us anymore.

So Farraday has to put together a crew for the job. He gets a commercial freighter that is under the watch of its’ straight-arrow Captain Camp (J.K. Simmons), who is already wary of Farraday’s history. Without the overheated sensationalism, “Contraband” is good with the nitty gritty. But when it reaches Panama, it throws in a needless hold-up of an armored van, which preposterously takes place in the same hour that Farraday is required back on ship. There’s also no good sex in this movie. Just scenes of Mrs. Farraday getting roughed up back home while her hubby’s away.

110 Minutes. Rated R.


Film Cousins: “Blow” (2001); “Cocaine Cowboys” (2006); “Middle Men” (2009); “The Whistleblower” (2010).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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