Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Cast & Crew: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Lukas Haas , Caleb Landry Jones, Diego Luna, J.K. Simmons
Synopsis: Chris Farraday (Wahlberg) long ago abandoned his life of crime, but after his brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones), botches a drug deal for his ruthless boss, Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi), Chris is forced back into doing what he does best— running contraband—to settle Andy’s debt. Chris is a legendary smuggler and quickly assembles a crew with the help of his best friend, Sebastian (Ben Foster), for one final run to Panama and back, hoping to return with millions in counterfeit bills.
Things quickly fall apart and with only hours to reach the cash, Chris must use his rusty skills to successfully navigate a treacherous criminal network of brutal drug lords, cops and hit men before his wife, Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and sons become their target.
Review: Most remakes miss out on one key ingredient – re-invention. This supposedly action packed adventure is a remake of a 2008 thriller, “Reykajavik-Rotterdam,” which starred this film’s director, Baltasar Kormakur. Guess the second time around he decided to put his thinking cap on and script instead. But what he delivers is a formulaic and insipid film in the name of a crime thriller. Unadulterated, shock is what you expect from it but what you get is performances as bland as curry in an English aristocrat’s living room. The plot is as predictable as an over the top soap opera. The actors strangely seem like they are sleepwalking through a busy street. Performances lacking conviction and contemporary slickness cannot do anything to rescue that. Even its social media-friendly promotional stints that include a Facebook’s Training Grounds application and a Contraband Hustle Game does nothing to incite excitement. Guess verdicts are restricted to what we finally witness on celluloid. And if a film cannot deliver on screen then the entire aura surrounding it is just great marketing master-mindedness.
So we have the legendary New Orleans smuggler Chris Farraday (Mark Wahlberg) who post abandoning a life of crime settles to become a Louisiana home-security contractor. Enjoying the pleasures of middle-class domesticity with his wife Kate (Kate Beckinsale), and two young sons when at a family wedding he discovers that his notorious punk brother-in-law, Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) messed a drug deal by dumping the cocaine for delivery in advance of a customs raid. Threatened as a consequence by his shrewd but impeccably tattooed boss Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) for owing him a whopping $700,000, Chris steps in to do one last rescue stint. He runs a pallet stacked with counterfeit bills from a distant barrio in Panama City to New Orleans to settle Andy’s debt. Meanwhile, Chris’s family is facing the upheavals of his actions in the guise of violent threats by drug runners, lethal hitmen and the police.
So there is a lot of scope for action but the action somewhere decides to take a vacation or god knows, go for a countryside trek. And then it seems like no one is really bothered to express a sense of urgency despite so much ruthless threats. Guess the frequent road trips in the film might have induced a kind of sheepish cheekiness in the cast and crew.You could possibly sleep through the film and still catch up with what’s happening. No it’s not simplicity of plot but rather the sheer banality of it that you fail to reason with. So coming back to debating the lineage of remakes, we wonder why there is no suspense, no path-breaking action, flat as an overused mattress dialogue delivery and wait a minute a serious lack of storytelling.
So let’s give the smart broadcasting all over a thumbs-up. And yes, in case you decide to save it from further disgrace and title it a DVD watch, let me warn you that it would look at least enticing on the DVD shelf. Don’t bother playing it; it may rob your living room off its spunk. Watch it only if insipid movies are secretly what you really favour.
Verdict: Formulaic and insipid film in the name of a crime thriller