Release Date: January 13, 2012
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate
Beckinsale, Ben Foster,
Giovanni Ribisi, Lukas Haas,
Genre: Crime Thriller
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 110 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures/Comcast
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Executive Producer: Liza Chasin, Evan Hayes, Bill
Producer: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner,
Baltasar Kormakur, Steven
Levinson, Mark Wahlberg
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski
Address Comments To:Brian L. Roberts, Chairman/CEO/President, Comcast Corp.
Stephen Burke, CEO, NBC Universal
Ron Meyer, President/COO, Universal Studios
Adam Fogelson, Chairman, Universal Pictures
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
Phone: (818) 777-1000
Web Page: www.universalstudios.com
The movie opens with a police raid on a freighter about to dock. During the raid, a young smuggler dumps his drug haul into the harbor to keep from being caught. The boy is then threatened with his life by the thugs awaiting the arrival of their drug shipment. The boy’s brother-in-law, Chris (Wahlberg), tries to save the boy’s life by offering to pay back the money for the drugs eventually, but the vicious criminal wants the money right away and threatens Chris’ family. So, Chris decides to do another run smuggling counterfeit money from Panama to protect his wife and two sons.
While he’s on his way to Panama, however, the thugs harass his wife and children some more. They threaten the family with guns and, at another point, harm his wife. Meanwhile, in Panama, things don’t go as planned and Chris winds up in the middle of a major gun battle trying to procure his contraband.
[SPOILERS FOLLOW] CONTRABAND is well made and well acted, delivering lots of intense suspense. The most positive thing about the movie is that Chris doesn’t come home and just kill all the bad guys. On the negative side, he eventually benefits from his smuggling. While the movie is by no means an advertisement to go into the smuggling business, it attempts to make audiences happy that he and his family benefit from his criminal behavior.
Movieguide® commends the fact the filmmakers didn’t succumb to the typical buildup to violent, deadly revenge against the villains who almost kill the hero’s family. However, CONTRABAND is full of almost constant foul language. It also has some very strong violence at a couple points, as well as references to illegal drugs. Finally, CONTRABAND’s ending becomes a typical heist movie where the protagonist gets away with his ill-gotten gains, even though the original impetus of his crime was to protect his family, including his wife and children.
All in all, therefore, CONTRABAND is unacceptable viewing.
CONTRABAND is well made and acted, delivering lots of intense suspense. However, the moral elements of saving one’s family are spoiled by almost constant foul language. There’s also some very strong violence and drug references. Finally, CONTRABAND’s ending becomes a typical heist movie. Thus, the protagonist decides to keep his ill-gotten gains, even though the original impetus was to protect his family.