Directed By: Baltasar Kormákur

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, and Giovanni Ribisi

As a moviegoer, January is always the hardest time of the year. Having just finished the awards season, we now have to put up with the crap that Hollywood wouldn't put out at any other point in the year because it simply isn't good enough.  We're starting out this January with a little star power in Contraband.  With Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale, you can't go wrong, in theory.

Chris Farraday (Wahlberg) got out of the life of crime long ago.  He's married with two kids and owns a business.  The past has a way of haunting him though.  Farraday's brother-in-law Andy (Caleb Landry Jones) screws up a smuggling job and owes his boss Tim Briggs (Giovanni Ribisi) a lot of money.  For messing with his money, Briggs kicks Andy's ass and puts him in the hospital.  Once Chris and his wife Kate (Beckinsale) find out what happened to Andy, Chris vows to do what he must to protect his brother-in-law and his family.  He confronts Briggs who then makes the customary threat to kill Chris and his family if he doesn't get his money.  To set things right with Briggs, Chris has to go back to the life he once vowed to leave forever.

How many movies have been made about a guy who has one last job? There have been way too many to count, and most of them have been a load of predictable crap.   Mark Wahlberg is too good for this kind of movie.  Admittedly though, he's the film's saving grace.  He brings the star power and on screen presence that makes Contraband a movie you can watch to pass the time.

Aside from Wahlberg, there's not much to the movie.  The writing is subpar because screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski doesn't create any meaningful characters or develop an original plot.  I didn't expect that though given Contraband is a January flick.  Guzikowski even made many of the characters annoying.  For instance, Kate and Andy make quite a few stupid decisions that were written into the movie simply to advance the plot.  Anybody with half a brain can see this terrible screenplay for what it truly is.  With this kind of writing, maybe Guzikowski should take a stab at a horror movie for his next screenplay.

I'm not surprised that I'm giving this film a bad rating.  It's a January movie, which means it's mediocre at best.  Contraband is a film that goes well with a strong cold beverage.  It gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a gin and tonic with this one.  On second thought, have a few.