When Mark Wahlberg takes on dramatic or quirky comedy roles, the results are surprisingly good ("The Fighter," "Boogie Nights," "The Other Guys"), when he does straight-up action, the results are, well, less than good ("Max Payne," "Shooter," "Four Brothers") - which has us a little leery of "Contraband."
Wahlberg plays an ex-Greatest Thief of All Time (check) who is out of the game and trying to go legit (check, check) who gets pulled back in (check) by his reckless brother (check) and now must protect his wife and kid (check, check) from a sinister crime lord (check) with the help of his old gang (checkity check).
But now, the good: The supporting cast is impressive, with the lovely Kate Beckinsale playing the wife in distress, the always-welcome J.K. Simmons is in it, Giovanni Ribisi makes for a creepily-high-pitched baddie, and Wahlberg's old crew boasts the likes of Ben Foster and Lukas Haas. Plus, Wahlberg isn't playing someone named Bob Lee Swagger.
U.S. & World
"Contraband" opens everywhere January 13, 2012.