CONTRABAND (2012, Baltasar Kormakur): 4/10
I like a good heist-gone-wrong movie (cf. OCEAN’S TWELVE), and sure enough almost everything goes wrong with Wahlberg & co.’s plan to smuggle counterfeit money from Panama, but rarely does a film ask so much of its audience’s disbelief to be suspended. This plot is really ludicrous. I give a lot of leeway to action movies to get away with impossible shit, but this film really tried my patience. That said, it’s another BASIC (John McTiernan’s 2003 stinker) — a bad film with an exceptionally good Giovanni Ribisi performance. Neither this movie nor BASIC are worth seeing just for Ribisi, but if you did watch either of them, you’d see just how incredible this guy is at rescuing lame material and giving a tour de force. He’s probably a bit better in BASIC (which is even a worse movie), but his scuzzy bad guy here is terrifying, hilarious, vulnerable, and somehow the most plausible thing in the film.
Ribisi’s career is one of the weirder, more inscrutable ones in Hollywood and I never know what to make of him. But the more often he does great work in not-great films (or even in good films like BOILER ROOM and COLD MOUNTAIN), I’ll consider just giving him his generation’s MVP award.