Sunday, 24 February 2013

Film Review: CONTRABAND (2012)

Contraband - poster Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Writers: Aaron Guzikowski (screenplay), Arnaldur Indriðason (film “Reykjavik-Rotterdam”), Óskar Jónasson (film “Reykjavik-Rotterdam”)
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Action/Crime/Drama
UK Release date: 16th March 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 24th February 2013.


Based on the Icelandic film “Reykjavik-Rotterdam”; this version is set in New Orleans and Panama. I’m always a bit wary of American remakes of foreign films; for some reason they lose a lot of the original’s impact when they’re watered down and sanitised for an American audience. On this occasion I haven’t seen the original so I have nothing to compare it with; I guess when I do I may have to re-visit this version and re-score it accordingly. But I digress; here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Contraband - 5 Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) is a former smuggler who has managed to get out of the game and settled down with his wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and their two boys. He has his own business and life seems to be going well until his young brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), gets involved in the smuggling business himself. He finds he has to dump a shipment of drugs when the ship he is on is boarded by customs officials. This does not go down to well with the man he was doing the job for, Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) and Chris is forced out of retirement in order to help him out. He brings in his former partner, recovering alcoholic Sebastian Abney (Ben Foster) and they plan a run to Panama to collect some counterfeit money in order to pay off what’s owed. Of course things don’t quite go according to plan and you know this can only add to the excitement.

Mark-Wahlberg-Contraband I have to admit I quite enjoyed this trip into the shady world of smuggling. Most of the characters were quite believable and there weren’t too many plot holes that made the whole thing ridiculous. I also liked that the filmmakers kept the action sequences quite realistic (loved the shoot-out in Panama). As far as performances go, I thought it was pretty much run of the mill stuff for most of them. Kate Beckinsale was a bit underused and Giovanni Ribisi played the loathsome Briggs very well. I guess this ‘by the book’ thriller was never going to win any prizes, but I did find it entertaining and that’s all you can ask of a film of this ilk.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 7.4/10.

IMDb Score: 6.4/10 (based on 57,096 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: 51/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Contraband - 8 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 51/100 (based on 77 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 58/100 (based on 63,035 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:

Contraband - 9 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Chris Farraday: I've got to try and fix this. Trust me, I know what I'm doing.

Chris Farraday: [to Tim] You think you're the only guy with a fucking gun?

Contraband - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook:
Official Site:

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