You Offend Me, You Offend My Family
Mark Wahlberg can take on just about any character, and he'll still be Mark Wahlberg, alpha male action hero that Hollywood is sorely missing these days without any huge personalities yet to convincingly take over the Stallone-Schwarzeneggar-Willis axis in the 80s, that some may argue can also expand to Van Damme and Seagal in their heydays. Amongst his contemporary peers are Vin Diesel and possibly Dwayne Johnson until he decided to become family friendly, where their limited range don't allow them to become the character they play, but instead having their personalities take over instead. So in recent years we have Mark Wahlberg the sniper, to Mark Wahlberg the boxer, and more often than not though, Mark Wahlberg the dad.
Which is not a bad thing, since his fatherly spin in films like The Lovely Bones and The Happening are some personal favourites, and he continues in this role as Chris Farraday, a one time smuggler who had given up his swashbuckling days in the battle of wits with Customs officials. But when his family gets threatened no thanks to a no good relative botching up a drug smuggle, he has to tap on his reserves of experience, hire a team and enter a New Orleans-Panama City round trip to bring back some contraband. And if you think it's a walk in the park, director Baltasar Kormákur, who starred in the original Icelandic film Reykjavik-Rotterdam, throws up enough hurdles that makes Contraband the film one heck of an edge of your seat ride, complete with double crossings, and some realistic mind numbing action, in part due to cinematographer Barry Ackroyd's choice in the use of the shaky cam that brings a sort of documentary feel to the Smuggling for Dummies moments.
Smuggling is sexy business when put on film, and there was a scheme mentioned in passing here about a Ferrari being bought on the cheap through manipulation of loopholes in the system that harked back to films like Badmaa$h Company which based the entire movie on a series of con games which the characters used to make money. Contraband instead features only one major heist if you'd like, and how Wahlberg the modern day thinking action hero gets to wriggle his way out of tangled fix of compromised situation after compromised situation, to try and come out tops. It is this struggle that is simple to understand, yet extremely engaging and mesmerizing to follow as we root for the underdog, and Marky Mark is someone you'd surely want at your corner when the going gets rough.
You can read my review of Contraband at movieXclusive.com by clicking on the logo below.