A former criminal, who now leads a quiet family life, is forced to go back to his previous life in order to ensure the safety of his family. This is the story summarized in one sentence. This is a theme we have seen umpteen times before. What can be a differentiating factor in such a scenarios? The answer is simple; thrills and twists. If the movie cannot provide enough thrills and twists, it falls flat. That is the reason why "Contraband" falls flat too.
Contraband directed by Baltasar Kormákur is a Hollywood adaptation of his Icelandic movie. I have not seen the original. But as a avid movie buff, it is easy to figure out the problem. The problem appears in the adaptation with too many characters with too many ulterior motives which results in uneven pace, ultimately making it a very boring enterprise. Add an uninspired casting to the list of issues. You have a total disaster in hand. The movie shows a bit of promise in the middle when the main protagonist is trying to close the deal in Panama City where nothing goes as per plan. As a result, everyone has to think on the feet. But with a lackluster editing, the entire sequence does not translate into a rush of adrenaline.
Mark Wahlberg as Chris Farraday is neither makes the viewer sympathize with his predicament nor get them hooked on to the events. Even the righteous attitude of "will not transport drugs but will transport fake currency" is absurd. There is no right or wrong. He is wrong all the way. Kate Beckinsale plays the wife of Chris. In her role, she has to lend support to her spouse while being unhappy with the situation. There isn't anything to do in this role. The biggest disappointments are in the form of Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi and Diego Luno. Ben and Giovanni are being typecast while Diego has a very silly role. The only member in the cast who entertains is J. K. Simmons as the captain of the ship on which Chris is transporting contraband items.
Stay away from this one.