Written by / 1/13/2012 / No comments / , , , ,

CONTRABAND

title: CONTRABAND
year: 2012
cast: Mark Walhberg, Giovanni Ribisi, Ben Foster
rating: ***1/2

Give us an antihero that’s gonna break the law for a substantial reason and not only can anything happen, but the audience will embrace it with open arms. But prepare to sustain disbelief through this action/suspense yarn involving a freshly retired contraband smuggler who, because of his brother-in-law's involvement in the same trade but with unlucky results, returns to his old life to straighten things out. It’s a piece of cake… with exploding candles… as Mark Walhberg goes from ship to land back to ship: dodging bullets, tricking drug dealers, and getting smashed up… after which the real fun begins. Old school melodrama envelopes the b-story as his wife and two children, vulnerably at odds with grimy, over the top mobster Giovanni Ribisi – but the suspense relies on how the ex smuggler can figure to sneak stuff through without being caught, and most importantly, to save his family as the goons move in. Wahlberg carries the movie with more cool than edge, and even when the story gets mazy and convoluted, he’s a genuine enough protagonist to make everything seem precisely clear: exactly when it needs to be. And welcome back veteran actor William Lucking to a big budget movie, looking perfectly gruff as Walhberg’s imprisoned father.
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