Contraband (2012) Review **WITH SPOILERS**

WARNING: This post contains mild spoilers of the movie, Contraband.

So funny story about how I got around to seeing this movie—I never wanted to see it, but ended up unintentionally seeing it anyway.  How did this happen?  Well, basically a good friend of mine and I were itching to see Man on a Ledge, partially because we were interested to see if the story would work, since it seemed like most of it would be the main character on a ledge and maybe a bunch of flashbacks leading up to that point—but mostly because Sam Worthington is in it.  Yes, feel free to roll your eyes, but hey, my friend and I are both women who love watching movies just for the sake of the “eye candy” in it every once in a while.  Hahaha.  Anyway, so we were fully intent on seeing that movie.  Bought tickets, got seated, and even had a soda to share and everything.  We made it just in time for the previews.

Except they didn’t start. In fact, that particular movie ended up being the only one in the entire theater that wouldn’t function properly.  We were told that we wouldn’t get the chance to see the movie that day, which was saddening.  However, the theater was generous enough to offer us three free movies!  We were told that we could see another movie that was playing right then, and each person was also given two movie ticket vouchers good for our next two visits!  Pretty sweet, right?  This is why Regal Rockville 13 is one of my favorite locations.  Their customer service is always the best.  Second for me is the AMC Rio in Gaithersburg.

Anyway, most of the other movies that were playing didn’t sound all too interesting to me, but my friend wanted to see Contraband so I thought eh, why not.  There was one specific part of the movie that I was curious about anyway, so I figured if anything, at least I would get the answer to that question.

So here’s the first spoiler I’m just going to throw out there, in case anyone is still curious about it.  You know how in the trailer there’s that one part where there’s criminals with duct tape over their faces as masks?  Well first of all, they really give no reason as to why they choose to use the duct tape masks.  Secondly, I don’t think they even showed them putting the duct tape on.  It was just randomly on already by the time they were going to go and steal something.  Anyway, I’m getting a little ahead of myself here.

This movie is full of action/crime movie clichés.  The movie starts with a kid named Andy (Caleb Landry Jones from X-Men: First Class), who had been warned by his brother-in-law Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg), to quit doing illegal runs.  Of course he never listened, the job goes wrong, and now he’s thrown himself and his older sister’s family into a lot of trouble.  You also have scenes of Farraday telling random thugs that suggest maybe he should return to a life of crime, to which Farraday insists that he won’t and that he’s turned over a new leaf.  And of course, thanks to his very immature and troublesome brother-in-law, he’s going to be forced right back into what he’s been trying to avoid.

And I have to say, the character Andy totally got on my nerves for the entire movie.  He gets his friend killed at the beginning of the movie, the results of his botched run put the lives of his sister, two little nephews, and brother-in-law in danger, and he keeps trying to be a hero without thinking things through and formulating a proper plan of action.  I think the most moronic thing that he did happened while his brother-in-law was trying to make a negotiation with this very mentally unstable crime lord.  I don’t remember the name of the guy, but he was the leader of the duct tape mask group that was trying to steal a painting from some truck.  The guy asks Farraday if he wants to do the job with him, but Farraday refuses and says he’d rather just give the guy the money for his goods and then go.  Unfortunately, Andy had already run off with the money to get cocaine to appease the criminal who is still ticked off that he botched the cocaine run at the beginning of the movie, and so Farraday was forced to go on the painting run so he wouldn’t get killed.  (The painting they wanted to steal was a Jackson Pollock, which I thought I recognized right away, but wasn’t 100% sure until they confirmed it at the end of the movie.  And yes, I totally had a gleeful nerd moment to find out that I was right.)

Everything also just works out way too conveniently in this movie.  The painting run goes wrong and the mentally unstable crime boss gets shot and slowly bleeds to death when they are ambushed by police, but Farraday and his partner are able to get away without any trouble from the police or any of the deceased crime lord’s cronies.  We find out that Farraday’s “best friend,” Sebastian Abney (played by Ben Foster—who totally reminded me of Ryan Gosling for some reason), is actually the boss of Andy’s boss and is also the one who is really calling the shots.  Abney also has the hots for Farraday’s hot wife (who is played by Kate Beckinsale).  Abney kind of lets his obsession with Farraday’s wife run away with him near the end of the movie, and while trying to take advantage of her he accidentally causes her to take a seemingly fatal blow to the head, knocking her unconscious (but Abney thinks he’s killed her).  He ends up trying to clean up the mess by taking wrapping her and her phone up in plastic and then taking her to the construction place he works at, dumps her body in some large container, and then orders people to fill the container up with cement.  For some odd reason while all that was happening I had the thought cross my mind that the whole thing made me feel like I was watching a super ridiculously watered-down version of Ryan Gosling’s performance in Drive.  (For any Drive fans out there, I’m complimenting Gosling’s performance, not bashing it.)

Meanwhile, Farraday’s started putting all of the pieces of the puzzle together and realizes who Abney really is and how he’s got a hand in this huge mess that Farraday is in.  And of course, he’s super angry about it.  Farraday later finds out about the fact that his wife is missing and goes to Abney’s workplace and beats the guy up.  Abney refuses to give up the location of Farraday’s wife’s body though.  Farraday then goes outside and tries calling his wife, hears his wife’s phone (which Abney had wrapped in the plastic with her), and then Farraday gets the construction workers to stop pouring cement in the container that his wife is in.  And surprise-surprise, Farraday’s wife is still alive and just needs to be hospitalized.  Abney gets thrown in the same jail as Farraday’s father for his crimes, and it is implied that Farraday’s father is in control of the prison’s inmates and has them take care of Abney.

Despite all the awful, there were still a couple funny scenes littered throughout the story.  My favorite had to be the one where Farraday frames the captain of the ship that he was making the illegal run on.  The captain insulted Farraday’s father (who is currently in jail and who also used to do runs), and he also made a deal with Abney and got the police to search the ship for the drugs and counterfeit money that Farraday was transporting.  The goods were already gone by the time the cops got there though—Farraday had put the cocaine in what looked to me like a carpet cleaner and had already thrown the money overboard with salt bags weighing them down.  Farraday then later brought Abney’s right hand man Tim Briggs (played by Giovanni Ribisi) and his goonies to the captain’s house and gives them the cocaine that was in the carpet cleaner that Farraday had placed in the captain’s car trunk.  The cops later show up and arrest everyone including the captain, and it is implied that the police think that he was in charge of the whole deal.  (By the way, Tim Briggs was the criminal that Andy screwed up the run for at the beginning of the movie.)

The other funny part was when Farraday’s friends wait with a boat by the coordinates where Farraday said he dropped all the counterfeit money.  The money eventually all floats to the top and really, it didn’t look discreet at all, which is why my friend and I found the scene to be hilarious.  I feel like if something like that happened in real life, they totally would have been caught.

The money goes to some random criminal that Farraday had talked to at the beginning of the movie (one of the people who suggested Farraday return to a life of crime), because Farraday had pulled some favor from the guy for a reason that seems no longer relevant by the movie’s end, since Andy had screwed things up so much the original reason for working with this other criminal was lost.  Farraday has a random conversation with the guy about the Pollock painting; the guy asks Farraday if he happened to have that in his possession too and Farraday lies and says no.  Farraday then asks how much the painting costed and I think the other guy said something about $174 million.  Farraday then translates that into black market price which comes out to $20 million.  It is implied at the end that Farraday used at least some of this money to buy a random beach house elsewhere and his family and friends all live happily ever after.  Yay.

Anyway, sorry for skipping all over the place and not being super linear when writing this entry, but I really didn’t care much for this movie.  I hope you can all forgive me.  As for my usual ratings break-down, here it is:

Originality: **
Picture: ***
Sound: ***
Story: **
Casting: ***
Re-watch Factor: *
Overall: **

FINAL VERDICT: C-

Overall, I found this movie to be altogether forgettable.  Oddly, I couldn’t help but feel like this might’ve been one of those movies that just maybe would have gotten more appreciation if it had come out in like the ’90s or something.


I know I promised that I was going to do some TV recaps and ranting, but I haven’t been able to get around to all that just yet.  Movie reviews are just a lot faster for me to do.  Hopefully I’ll get the other entries done soon though!  They’re all still in draft form at the moment.

Well, until next time!

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