Conventional Contraband

Mark Wahlberg thriller boilerplate trotted out in January

This Mark Wahlberg vehicle is the celluloid version of a fast food burger, utterly unremarkable and yet comforting in its familiarity. Wahlberg plays a reformed smuggler who’s forced to get back into shady boat business after his brother-in-law (Caleb Landry Jones) botches a run and is threatened by a vicious crime boss (Giovanni Ribisi). The film dutifully rolls through all the conventions of the “one last job” genre, as Wahlberg’s plan goes awry, his wife (Kate Beckinsale) and family are endangered and characters are revealed to be dirty double-crossers. The twists are well-telegraphed and Ribisi is overplays his gangster to an embarrassing degree, but Contraband is otherwise competently made. Happy in its mediocrity, it offers a decent escape for viewers who leave their expectations out in the January cold.