Posts Tagged ‘Mark Wahlberg’

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It’s a Mark Wahlberg movie. If you understand that five-word sentence in all its complexity of meaning and consequence, you do not need to finish this review. Mark Wahlberg is Mark Wahlberg, a charismatic and highly-entertaining A-list Hollywood star who carries crappy movies to become watchable escapist material on a lazy Friday night. Once in a while, he’ll surprise you with gold when he teams with award-winning auteurs (The Departed, The Fighter). But for the most part, Wahlberg will headline these mid-level action flicks that were seemingly made for the 90s Walmart bin starring Keanu Reeves. And you know what? There’s something to be said for movies that meet our expectations 10 times out of 10. Contraband is a prime example.

The film follows Chris Farraday (Wahlberg), a former prodigy of the smuggling business who went clean to start a family. He has to go back into the business, however, when his brother-in-law gets caught up in a botched smuggling job of his own. It’s a fairly predictable storyline with laughable plot twists and several caricatures. But this B-movie actually has higher aspirations. The most foremost compliment to Wahlberg’s charm is the supporting cast, and most notably Ben Foster. Already receiving critical acclaim for his roles in The Messenger and Rampart, Foster delivers another powerhouse performance as an overly protective best friend with secrets of his own. Where Wahlberg is the heart of Contraband, Foster may be the brains. And as a one-two punch, they make Contraband engaging and nerve-wracking in the best of ways, making it one of the better January releases I’ve seen in a while.