Contraband Reviewed: Another Macho Vanity Project

A review of the new smuggling thriller Contraband, the general gist of which is that Mark Wahlberg is a spectacular douchebag.
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A review of the new smuggling thriller Contraband, the general gist of which is that Mark Wahlberg is a spectacular douchebag.

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So, first of all, I’d just like to reproduce a short passage, word-for-word, from Mark Wahlberg’s Wikipedia page – and please do feel free to check this for yourself:

‘At 15, [Wahlberg] harassed a group of black school children on a field trip by throwing rocks and shouting racial epithets. When he was 16, Wahlberg approached a middle-aged Vietnamese man on the street and, using a large wooden stick, knocked him unconscious (while calling him "Vietnam fucking shit"). He also attacked another Vietnamese man, leaving him permanently blind in one eye, and attacked a security guard (again using racist language).’

Anyhoo… Mark’s back on the big screen this month with Contraband, a fast-paced thriller set in the cutthroat world of international smuggling. The film, incidentally, is also produced by Wahlberg which means an even higher percentage of your hard-earned pounds (or hard-earned Dong, if you happen to be seeing this in Vietnam) will end up in his bank account.

Wahlberg plays Chris, a legendary former smuggler who comes out of retirement for one last job (yawn). His twerp of a brother-in-law Andy – the Rodney to Wahlberg’s Del Boy – has messed up a drug deal and is now up to his ears in debt to a ruthless criminal (Giovanni Ribsi). To save his brother-in-law’s life, Chris must go back to doing what he does best and find a way to smuggle $100m in counterfeit bills into the country. He gets a job on board a massive container ship, working the New Orleans to Panama route and, together with his crack team of smuggling experts, hatches an audacious plan to pull off one of the biggest contraband jobs in history. But with the authorities getting suspicious and the bad guys starting to threaten his family, will Chris be able to finish the job before it’s too late?

This film didn’t go down that well in the States when it came out, with many critics dismissing it as a dull, formulaic and a tediously macho vanity project. Not me though. I think we should all definitely pay to go and see it – several times if possible. Why? Because what Mark Wahlberg deserves (oh, and by the way… did I also mention that in a recent interview Wahlberg blithely claimed that, had he been on board one of the planes hijacked by Al-Qaeda in 2001, he would have single-handedly prevented 9/11) what he deserves is more of our time, attention and money.

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