After trying to avoid it for a while, I finally saw Contraband last night. Needless to say, I saw it merely out of pity for the poor thing.
It wasn't all that bad, but was quite disappointing. I gave it 2.5/5 stars on Flixter. Contraband's only strength may be the presence of Mark Walhberg alone.
I dunno who that guy is (right) even now!He's as charming as ever in this thriller as he tries to run a smuggling operation to save the lives of his loved ones. His moments on screen are gut-wrenching. The rest of the characters, I cannot say the same. It's not the actors that blemish the movie but the lack of properly crafted characters. For one thing, I found myself trying to actually use my brain cells to comprehend the events as they occurred.
This experience, fortunately, can be best described as 'spaghetti'. Why? Because there're things in this movie you will never know the starting of. We're never introduced to the characters very well in the first place, apart from the fact that Chris Farraday (Wahlberg) is a former mastermind smuggler who now has a Security System business and a family. The others, however vital to the plot are never given proper exposition or background.
I'm not a reviewer or anything, but I do love taking things apart, especially when it comes to choppy vfx. And this nails it! Awkwardly there was this one slow-mo shot of a henchmen being blown away by a detonating bomb set on an armored vehicle. Having this 3-4 second shot being suddenly thrown at you with all the fast-paced action and guns-blazing, this is no walk in the park. In fact, it's annoying. The shot is followed by a close-up of an upside down Wahlberg...also in slow-mo (which I was able to deal with 'cause now that's 2 slow-mo shots consecutively and it wasn't jumpy).
Apart from that, it's not an entirely unique film. You've seen all of it before but in different pieces. Contraband is just a convoluted mesh of what could otherwise have been a lengthier, more explanatory and touching movie.