Mark Wahlberg may have received a Best Actor Oscar nomination (for “The Fighter”), but I’m still not convinced that his acting skills are anything but… limited. His two usual facial expressions in any given movie are: pissed off and perplexed. But what do I know? The Academy thinks he’s great! But seriously, he can give a very solid performance when he’s pushed by either the material, or the director, or both. “Contraband” doesn’t seem like either one happened. It looks like your stock-standard crime flick, with Wahlberg playing his familiar tough guy role. Directed by Icelander Baltasar Kormákur and written by his compatriots Óskar Jónasson and Arnaldur Indriðason, this doesn’t have much of a European flavour at all. It feels very much like a Hollywood product. Shame, really. And the most worrying sign is that it’s being released in the Box Office Dead Zone known as January. Still, this story of a struggling security guard who takes a dangerous smuggling job with predictably disastrous results does look pretty sleek and well-shot. And it does have the rather delectable Kate Beckinsale. Could be fun.
“Contraband” also stars Giovanni Ribisi (“Avatar”), Ben Foster (“X-Men: The Last Stand”), J.K. Simmons (“Spider-man” trilogy) and Caleb Landry Jones (“X-Men: First Class”). It premieres 13th January 2012 in the US.