I used to sexually attracted to Kate Beckinsale but then … oh, who am I kidding? I’m still sexually attracted to Kate Beckinsale and I know I’m not the only one. Problem is, she is apparently hovering at the wrong end of spectrum. Yes, leading role in Underworld series, and Van Helsing, but then, that’s probably it and even that, it wasn’t much. Now her role in this movie, as the distressed Mark Wahlberg’s wife in this rather forgettable thriller-slash-caper movie, provides no help to improve her spectrum whatsoever.
She’s Mark Wahlberg’s wife, happily married with two kids. She knows what her husband did for a living once. A successful smuggler, only to retire and goes legit. Her brother, however, chose not to. After a botched smuggling job that put him on a seven hundred thousands dollar debt, one friend short, and a bad rep to a trigger happy drug lord, he has put his life and his sister’s family in danger. If you think that he’s a no good brother-in-law, well, yes, he is. But Mark Wahlberg’s character is so gold that he, with the help of his old friends, immediately went into the job himself to pay his brother-in-law’s debt. And, oh yeah, to save his family’s life. Probably that, too.
I’ve always loved a caper movie. Seeing a group, each with their own specialties, working hand-to-hand, shoulder-to-shoulder, to achieve one seemingly impossible goal, swiveled around obstacles, and always, and I mean always going off the books because something wrong comes up, is exactly my kind of fun.
“Contraband” has all the formulas above and at times, it lived up to expectations. Even if the movie runs a bit long, perhaps more so than necessary, there are times that the thrill escalates enough to really hook me up. However, caper-wise, there’s not much happening in this movie. Unlike most notable caper movies where the caper sometimes necessitates creativity in a way that makes you goes “ooh!,” “Contraband” is emphasizing more on skill and experience than creativity and intelligence. Mark Wahlberg’s character is an experienced smuggler and he does nearly all the work himself despite having several men he could named as “crew.” And he’s definitely has enough experience to overcome the odds. But like I’ve said, ignoring the many botched plots (and there are quite a few. But fret not! It’s easier to be ignorant with the help of many additives you could have at the concession bar), it still qualifies as a good enough caper movie.
Mark Wahlberg has grown into a niche role as a good guy in crime profession, and he does it nicely. Though I sorely missed his role that is similar to the one he did in “The Departed,”, and his role in this film seems to be closer to that of his role in “The Big Hit” which is at the wrong end of the ratings, he still did a pretty good job. Kate Beckinsale is sadly nothing more than just a passing glance. I’m not sure how much she got paid for this role, but I think you could get a comparable artist to fill her role with half of her salary. That’s how wasted she is in this movie. Ben Foster however, is another story. He is completely underused, but he manages to have a remarkable and memorable performance in this movie even if given how short his time was. This dude has a scary stare if he wants to, and his dejected look at the end of the movie is a moment respite from a movie devoid of memorable acting performance.
Oh, one more thing. Apparently, in only one hour, you could find a correct warehouse with only limited knowledge (“I’ll know it when I see it”) in Panama City, helped an armored car hijack, escapes full fire from local polices and squeezed enough time to board a container ship, and clean the goods for good measure. And it took me nearly as much to write this review. Hm, there must be something wrong with my life.