On this edition of Flick or Skip, we look at an underground crime film starring Mark Wahlberg. Will Contraband be worth your time this weekend at the box office? Let’s try to figure that out by only using the trailer.
Contraband looks like your typical modern crime thriller. A good guy who used to be a bad guy gets pulled in for one more job and is double-crossed. That’s as simple as simple can be in this kind of film.
The trailer takes on this dark and gritty tint the entire time. Even scenes in bright sunlight seem dim and wrong. It’s standard visuals from Contraband, meaning the film is targeting the same audience that comes out for films like Taken or Shoot’em Up.
Mark Wahlberg has certainly made these action/crime thrillers a staple of his acting output. It feels like every other film he stars in involves big gun fights, underground crime, and the safety of his family. Contraband seems to be no exception. He wants his family back and he’ll do anything to get them. I’m not picking up on anything particularly impressive acting wise in this film. If anything, he seems to be teetering on that wooden style that made The Happening such a chore to sit through.
The issue with the trailer of Contraband is that it seems to show the entire film. From an authority figure in Wahlberg’s life expressing his pride in Wahlberg leaving crime to Wahlberg leading the charge to get revenge on everyone who put his family in danger, it’s all there. Does the trailer hide anything or are you paying admission to see a longer version of a free video?
There is an audience for Contraband. The film is popcorn entertainment with big gun fights, ships, helicopters, and cars crashing through walls. It feels dangerous because it’s about underground crime but it’s safe because you know that Mark Wahlberg will save the day. The film might be lacking for originality, but it at least seems capable of meeting the genre standards.
The verdict? Fans of this kind of action/crime film will enjoy it, if not be blown away by the story or visuals. More casual film goers could do worse this weekend if they don’t have access to any of the big awards bait. Contraband just feels like the kind of film that will work for an audience drawn in by the trailer. It won’t be perfect, but it will satisfy film fans who go to the movies to escape.
Are you going to see Contraband this weekend? Sound off.