"Contraband" Will Be Quickly Exported From Your Memory

"Contraband" Will Be Quickly Exported From Your Memory

CONTRABAND

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.

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