Last night Kish and I wanted to see a movie. I felt like an action movie, so we went to see Contraband.
Contraband is about smuggling. Mark Wahlberg plays Chris Farraday, formerly the world’s greatest smuggler but now trying to go legit. His plans for a law-abiding life go awry when his inept brother-in-law has to dump smuggled goods and must come up with lots of money to pay off his debt. That puts Chris’ wife and sons in the gunsights of a bad guy — played with appropriate menace by Giovanni Ribisi — so Chris must devise a smuggling scheme and assemble a team to accomplish it. Along the way the movie takes us on a cargo ship from New Orleans to Panama and back again, involves Chris in an armored car robbery, and reveals various plot twists and turns.
Contraband is like a heist movie, except that a successful, improbable smuggling scheme takes the place of a successful, improbable robbery. There are the same on-the-fly decisions in order to overcome unexpected hurdles, the same narrow escapes with mere seconds to spare, and the same bulletproof, brilliant protagonist. It was interesting to get a sense of how life on a cargo ship works and the customs procedures applicable to shipping, but most of this movie seemed awfully familiar. We left the theater with a shrug about a movie that falls squarely into the run-of-the-mill category.