Chris Farraday is a former criminal who was mostly known for his excellent skills in smuggling goods past customs. However, he’s left that career path, decided instead to go straight, and now works as a security expert while enjoying his days together with his wife Kate and his two kids.
His days of calm and quiet get quite the bump when Kate’s delinquent brother Andy tosses a batch of cocaine into the ocean in order to stay out of the hands of customs when they come to do a surprise inspection of the ship he’s on. Tim Briggs, Andy’s boss, still expects Andy to come up with the money the cocaine would have delivered so as such Chris gets pulled back in to make a run to Panama, a run that won’t only get Andy the money he “owes”, but will also give Chris and his friends enough cash to lead a wealthy life.
In the meantime, however, Briggs is terrorizing Chris’ family to make sure Chris will fulfill his commitment.
Contraband is a bit of a mixed bag. Wahlberg, Beckinsale, Ribisi, Foster and the rest of the cast do a decent job in portraying their characters, and the story as such has a couple of original twists that give the movie’s theme a bit of freshness. The main downside, however, is that the pace is so slow that you sometimes wonder when something is going to happen. And when the ending does finally arrive, it’s a bit of a downer due to the fact that it doesn’t really surprise anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, Contraband isn’t bad, it’s just nothing you’ll remember for long. It’s a decently crafted thriller with a couple of good twists and which has a good cast. Unfortunately it just lacks a bit of pizzazz that makes it sparkle.
The lack of sparkle and pizzazz (or whatever you want to call it) is also noticed in the image. Not that there’s any technical issues – the transfer is actually done very well – but the dreary atmosphere only gets even grittier due to the muted color palette and this combined with the already slow pace of the story makes things truly depressing. The sound is decent but doesn’t excell. For an action thriller, there a general lacking of immersiveness with the surrounds not coming into play as much as we would like, and the general mumbling of the cast doesn’t help the dialogues either.
In the extras department, Universal provides two features that cover the basics of the movie including cast & crew interviews, behind the scenes footage, and some info on stunts and fighting scenes. Next to that, there’s also an audio commentary track, deleted scenes and Universal’s usual Blu-ray stuff like U-control.