Summary: Cliches and an underuse of Wahlberg and Beckinsale's talents sink smuggling thriller 'Contraband' before it delivers.
What's it going to take for Hollywood to realise that Giovanni Ribisi can't act? Once again, he thrusts his jittery, heroin-junkie style of performance to project a caricature instead of a character in 'Contraband'.
This time he's the slimy bad guy who is threatening the family of a former smuggler played by Mark Wahlberg. Always good at playing guys forced into a corner, Wahlberg needs to complete the classic 'one last score' to free his wife (Kate Beckinsale wasted as a damsel in distress) and restore normality.
Despite Ben Foster as Wahlberg's pal, JK Simmons as the unfortunately named Captain Camp, Lukas Haas as a crook and Diego Luna as a crime lord, it's hard to feel anything for any of the stars - even Wahlberg. Their characters just can't escape from cliche while director Baltasar Kormákur can't inject anything new to the proceedings either, leaving 'Contraband' feeling as flat as Wahlberg's washboard stomach.
However, 'The Hurt Locker' DP Barry Ackroyd's grungy cinematography shot on location in New Orleans and Panama City affords the production the benefit of a realistic, underused Hollywood action locale.
'Contraband' is swift, driven entertainment that doesn't outstay its welcome, but it remains in desperate need of either a tighter thriller script or a few dashes of the charm which we all know Wahlberg is capable of.
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