Contraband Directed by: Baltasar Kormákur Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Giovanni Ribisi Rating: R Release Date: January 13, 2012
TRAILER SCORE: 6/10
Thoughts by TSR: Did you guys know that Mark Wahlberg plays a lot of tough guys? I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in. Seriously though, Wahlberg has spent much of his career playing these types of characters. Sometimes he does it to great effect (The Departed), but more often than not the results aren’t great (Max Payne). In Contraband, he takes it up a notch. Not only is he playing a tough guy, but a tough guy who had gotten out of a life of crime before being forced back in. That is one of the most overused characters in the game, and it gives little hope that this is going to be anything more than another cliche-filled bore.
I know I said it gives little hope, but I think there is still reason to be mildly curious. Most of this trailer looks very familiar and played out, but there are enough flashes to warrant a bit of interest. Wahlberg’s cliched character aside, the movie does boast a fairly strong cast. Kate Beckinsale has a good performance in her every once in a while, Ben Foster is very talented and Giovanni Ribisi is… well, um, I have no idea what he’s doing. That accent is ridiculous, but whatever he’s going for, I want more. We also have Lukas Haas and a mustachioed J.K. Simmons as a boat captain. Can't go wrong there!
There is also some dialogue that makes me think the film isn't taking itself too seriously. At one point Wahlberg’s character is asked if everything is “bueno.” Straight-faced he responds, “No. It’s no bueno.” The only way that line could have been topped is if they somehow worked in Wahlberg telling an animal to “Say ‘hi’ to your mother for me.”
Yes, it’s riddled with cliches. We’ve seen this type of thing done a thousand times. I don’t know whether Contraband is going to be something I’d consider a good movie, but it does look like it could be fun. And fun goes a long way when it comes to the cinematic pit of despair known as January.