x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Contraband

The film leaps into action with a loud and violent bang. Wahlberg goes at it with guns blazing.

Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Caleb Landry Jones
***

Hollywood's appetite for Scandinavian fare knows no bounds, it seems, with this big-budget reboot on the 2008 action film Reykjavik-Rotterdam. Its original star - Kormakur - is even at the helm. Contraband, as it's now known, leaps into action with a loud and violent bang. Wahlberg - who's also on board for Kormakur's forthcoming follow-up, 2 Guns - is so reliable with such stuff that he could phone in his performance.

Here, though, as bad-boy-done-good Chris, he goes at it with guns blazing. Naturally, Chris must ditch that dull security job to revisit his wicked past, save his brother-in-law Andy (Landry Jones) from a criminal named Briggs (Ribisi).

Matters shift from a dark, grimy New Orleans to the Panama Canal, while Chris's wife (Beckinsale) seeks solace elsewhere. Nods to Wahlberg's cinematic past ("It's like the size of a Mini Cooper", referring to The Italian Job) are thrown in, and it's imaginatively shot, yet it all feels rather too familiar. Which may explain why it's been siphoned off to feed a lethargic, post-New Year market largely focused on the awards season.