The characters and content spill over with testosterone.


What if I told you there was a new film out about a movie critic who had to get back in the business to help save a family member in trouble with a Hollywood rep? Not very intriguing right? That is why the new movie Contraband uses drug lords and smugglers as its main focus. Not only is it better suited for action but the premise is a lot more enticing.

Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) has left his life of crime behind. He has now a legitimate family man running an upright business. When his wife’s brother (Caleb Landry Jones ) gets on the wrong side of a vicious drug lord (Giovanni Ribisi) Chris must do one last job to settle the bill. He grabs a freighter bound for Panama with the hopes of smuggling some counterfeit bills back into the US. It is not an easy job especially with the pressure being put on his family back home. This makes for a gritty, action packed thrill ride from start to finish.

The premise is familiar and to be honest not that original. The plot line of family first has thrown many a redeemed criminal back in the saddle. This movie reminds me of films like Gone in 60 Seconds, which also had Ribisi, and The Italian Job, coincidentally starring Wahlberg. This one is a few rungs better than those mainly due to the solid writing and character portrayal. Wahlberg is easily able to sell both aspects of his character. He has a soft, humble nature but can easily handle himself in a tight spot, with a cold stare and quick fists. Ribisi is menacing as a drug dealer who has no respect for human life. His look and voice are at times soulless and terrifying. Cudos to Ben Foster who plays Farraday’s partner in crime and J.K. Simmons as the freighter’s captain. I especially enjoyed Simmons in this role.

Also the writing team keeps you on your toes with the plot. Even though there are several predictable moments they are made up for with a few twists and turns that pile on the action and high speed intensity. Each direction adds a new character that gives the story depth and broad appeal. There are also some funny moments that allow you a chance to catch your breath. But then you are slung right back into the thick of things.

The job Chris and his gang have to pull off is intricate. The backdrop of a freighter gives it some fresh ideas. Sure there are hard to believe moments but those are the ones that are the most fun. These guys do what can’t be done. If it could, where would the magic be? Fans of intense action and drama will love the gun fights, fist-a-cuffs, and overall story.

Contraband is rated R for violence, pervasive language and brief drug use. If Hollywood has a quota for the F word then they fulfilled their year in this one movie. You will find it in nearly every sentence. If this is troubling to you or distracting then you will not enjoy this flick. Same way with the violence. These are bad guys and they don’t play nice or fair. So know what you are getting in to. It would be easy to say that this is a guy flick. The characters and content spill over with testosterone. If that is your drug of choice then you will love this one. I give it a solid 4 out of 5 duct-tape masks.  Contraband sets the bar high for the adult action dramas and good luck to others trying to surpass it.

 Review copyright 2012 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.