Genre: Action thriller
Premise: When his brother-in-law gets in trouble with a local drug lord (Giovanni Ribisi), a former smuggler (Mark Wahlberg) gets back in the game, heading to Panama to make a big score of counterfeit bills and pay off the debt. If he fails, his family dies.
Behind-the-Scenes: Based on the 2008 foreign film, Reykjavik-Rotterdam.
The Good: Typical, low-frills Saturday night action thriller - goes about its business in a workmanlike, unpretentious way. Wahlberg maintains a subtle yet commanding screen presence. Ben Foster tones it down as Wahlberg's best buddy.
The Bad: The action is tepid, the thrills are lukewarm at best. Nothing here you haven't seen a million times before. Kate Beckinsale is stranded in the thankless wife role. There are long stretches that take place on a big tanker ship heading to Panama, where nothing of note really happens. Director Baltasar Kormakur tries and fails to achieve Paul Greengrass Bourne-style realism with all the handheld, random-zooming camera work.
Should You See It?: No. Even with modest expectations (it is January, after all), Contraband is a forgettable waste of time.
Rating: ** out of 5 stars.