"Contraband" wastes considerable energy, and several likable performers, in taking us to a place we’ve visited far too many times before. Although the story concerns drug-smuggling, and is set in New Orleans and at the Panama Canal, this is a by-the-numbers heist flick of such predictability that at several points you wonder why it’s even unfolding.
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An anticipatory indifference sets in right at the beginning, as we meet Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg), a one-time smuggler who’s gone legit and now lives happily with his wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale) and their two kids. When Chris is approached at a bar by an old underworld colleague and asked if he has thought about getting back into the crime business, we wonder…well, we wonder nothing: We know exactly where this is headed.
Then Kate’s younger brother Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) becomes involved in a coke-smuggling run for a Crescent City scumbag named Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi with a hide full of tattoos and a wheezy Looziana accent). When Andy is forced to ditch the drugs he’s carrying back in order to avoid a customs bust, Chris has no choice but to make a run of his own in order to raise enough money to compensate Briggs, who will otherwise kill all concerned.
Read the full review at Reason.com