Contraband - Review

RIGHT-HAND MAN Mark Wahlberg and Ben Foster in Contraband

There's a squalid, revved-up species of movie that I've come to think of as the January thriller. It might star the aging-but-still-killer Liam Neeson, the fighting-back-from-disgrace Mel Gibson, or someone who never had a star to fall from. Yet whoever the hero is, the genre's defining characteristic is its no-frills dedication to delivering the B-movie goods, to immersing us in matters of betrayal, revenge, vehicular mayhem, and righteous ass-kicking. Given how low our expectations are — or should be — for January thrillers, it's always a pleasurable surprise to encounter one that approximates ingenuity, or even a hint of wit. So I appreciated the showpiece sequence in Contraband in which a trim, lightning-quick Mark Wahlberg, cast as a retired smuggler who's drawn back into the game, attempts to score a pile of counterfeit bills in the tin-shack streets of Panama City. Read More...,,20556653,00.html 


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