Remember that movie that came out last year that had the guys robbing an armored car using duct tape for masks?  That was this movie.  The problem I had with Contraband is that it is too clever.  Additionally, it’s one of those movies that if you look at the world that it creates in context as a whole, you realize most of the obstacles in the movie could’ve been avoided to begin with.

Spoiler alert:  So Mark Wahlberg is an ex-smuggler who was really good.  After his idiot brother-in-law attempts to smuggle in some drugs, the dumbass is forced to drop the drugs in ocean or whatever body of water the ship is on.  Of course, Wahlberg is forced back into smuggling to save him from the baddies.  But Wahlberg’s character is so capable, so on top of the gangster game and smuggling game, that he can’t fix things with the local gangster doesn’t ring true.

So even assuming he wouldn’t just turn around and kill the guy who refuses to negotiate (for unknown reasons), Walhberg still goes on the trip to smuggle stuff.  But the bad guys continue to sabotage him every step of the way.  So if they know Wahlberg is going to get the money back, why sabotage him?  But then, of course, it turns out that it’s about more than just money.  But that character twist is so huge, it would be as if you misjudged your own brother or childhood friend.  If you’re THAT bad of a judge of character, how the Hell did you survive in the criminal underworld for so long when judging someone’s character is a major component?

Finally, Kate Beckinsale, who plays Wahlberg’s wife, is in danger.  But the danger is so ridiculous and the rescue so unlikely, it’s…  Well.  I didn’t buy it.  Quite frankly, everything in this movie pales in comparison to the scene with the hilarious bank robbers and working Wahlberg’s character into that is so contrived—  I mean, the moment it’s mentioned, you’re like, “Seriously?”

Admittedly, this isn’t the worst movie I ever saw.  It just doesn’t come together.  If you saw the various scenes apart from one another, you’d probably think it was a portion of a half-way decent flick.  A good rewrite, with a funny writer and/or director and you probably could’ve made this a fun, Oceans 11-type thing.  Instead, the entire flick is a mix of vicious thugs one minute, crazy action the next, clever smuggling, switches and betrayals that make you want the movie just to end or make up it’s fucking mind.

But hey, at least I saw it on a HBO free weekend for free.