Mark Wahlberg's got on his best caperface for Baltasar Kormákur's movie, a straight-ahead crime flick that wrongly wishes it was a fractured-family melodrama.
An American remake of a 2009 Icelandic movie Kormákur actually starred in, Contraband is what NOLA-based trafficker Chris Farraday (Wahlberg) gracefully moved from port to port with partner Sebastian (Ben Foster) — "the Lennon and McCartney of smuggling" — before Chris went legit, to the dismay of his cohorts and delight of his incarcerated father (also a smuggler, surprise!). But when Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), sloppy little sibling of Chris' wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale), loses close to a million bucks in coke on a botched run of his own, his bro-in-law is forced to pull one ... last ... job to square with Giovanni Ribisi's Briggs, a hoodlum with a hilariously nasal bayou accent that sounds like it came out of a box of Cajun Cracker Jacks.
If Wahlberg's last run-and-gun heist entry, The Italian Job, is a sporty coupe, Contraband is a dented old pickup, more concerned with the lively blue-collar intuition required to survive the smuggling game than the actual product being smuggled. Contributions from the supporting cast, particularly Foster's constant seething (great actor, but why's he always playing sullen chain smokers?), are inconsistent, while Kormákur's odd art-house decisions behind the lens lend fleeting grit but no real purpose.