Metascore
51

Mixed or average reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 38
  2. Negative: 4 out of 38
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Jan 12, 2012
    75
    A thriller with its share of nail-biting moments.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jan 11, 2012
    75
    Contraband, while often grungy and far-fetched, does keep you watching. And in January, that's recommendation enough.
  3. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Jan 16, 2012
    70
    The result is that rare Hollywood genre film that earns its intensity rather than forcing it upon you.
  4. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Jan 12, 2012
    70
    It's still an obligingly tense, scruffy addition to the one-last-crime genre.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jan 12, 2012
    70
    It's a genre film, not great art, though there's a good joke about art - a pricey piece of action painting, appropriately enough - but it's a thoroughly satisfying entertainment, and, in this season of lowered expectations, a nice surprise.
  6. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Jan 12, 2012
    70
    The interplay between Wahlberg and Foster and then Ribisi is nicely done but the action in and around the cargo ship is where the movie's real fun lies. There is plenty of guy humor.
  7. Reviewed by: Nathan Rabin
    Jan 12, 2012
    67
    Kormákur and his collaborators want to tell a simple story cleanly, efficiently, and with a refreshing dearth of frills. They more or less realize their aspirations because they aim so low.
  8. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jan 11, 2012
    67
    Contraband is a tidy little thriller that makes up in execution what it lacks in originality.
  9. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 13, 2012
    63
    What we're left with is a movie that is about as nourishing as the Junior Mints and nachos available at the theater snack bar. But, then, many a Friday night dinner has been made of far less.
  10. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jan 13, 2012
    63
    Watching it leaves you feeling less buzzed than jittery and slightly nauseated. If the "Ocean's" movies were martinis, Contraband is a thermos full of coffee.
  11. 63
    Playing a blonde with her roots showing, Beckinsale seems up for a scrap, but the film gives her nothing to do but get clobbered.
  12. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jan 12, 2012
    63
    There's a frothy, almost whimsical undercurrent quietly bubbling beneath the dead-serious story, and it finally bursts to the forefront in the ridiculously happy finale, which argues without the slightest bit of shame that crime sometimes does pay - really, really well.
  13. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Jan 12, 2012
    63
    I don't know that a lot of Contraband makes sense. But I'm not sure that it has to. The director Baltasar Kormákur carries the movie off with efficiency, brutality, and humor.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 12, 2012
    63
    Wahlberg has the presence, the glower and the laconic line readings to guide us through a mess of pain, painlessly.
  15. Reviewed by: Jamie Graham
    Mar 18, 2012
    60
    Don't expect glamorous outlaws, sunny locales and exotic masterplans – this low-key thriller lifts the rusted lid off an all-too-real world of despairing criminality.
  16. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Jan 23, 2012
    60
    Two winter-season entertainments -- "Haywire" and Contraband with the minimalist but inexorable Mark Wahlberg -- have no greater ambition than to engage our dreams of behaving badly. Of the two, Contraband is the more absorbing. [30 Jan. 2012, p.79]
  17. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Jan 13, 2012
    60
    So super complicated (implausible?) that in the wrong hands it would be laughable. Instead, this very gritty bit of greased action does a decent job of shaking the sluggish out of January.
  18. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jan 12, 2012
    60
    The absurdity of the story in the largely thrill-free thriller Contraband, its hairpin twists and outrageous coincidences, may keep even hungry action fans away. That's too bad because the story doesn't matter. (It rarely does.)
  19. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jan 12, 2012
    60
    The kind of middling-but-watchable heist thriller that, days after seeing it, already feels like something you caught half of on a plane two years ago.
  20. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jan 12, 2012
    60
    Ribisi has become the go-to guy for movie psychos, giving everything to performances like this one or as Moburg, the dissolute reporter in "The Rum Diary."
  21. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Jan 12, 2012
    60
    This Americanized version of the 2008 Nordic thriller "Reykjavik Rotterdam" transfers the original's gritty, violent action into an entertaining and intense starring role for Mark Wahlberg.
  22. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 11, 2012
    60
    The lead role of a working class former smuggler who dirties his hands again to save his family fits Mark Wahlberg like a glove.
  23. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Jan 11, 2012
    60
    This solid if disposable genre exercise maintains a hard-driving line of action and a commitment to one-damned-thing-after-another storytelling that carries it past any number of narrative speedbumps and preposterous detours.
  24. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Jan 10, 2012
    60
    No one, however, could mistake Contraband for anything but what it is: a shift-job genre movie - not a bad day's work, content to match the blocky trudge of its star rather than attempt panache.
  25. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jan 24, 2012
    55
    Nothing about it lingers, not even the sulfuric stench of a bum scene or a particularly hammy performance.
  26. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jan 13, 2012
    50
    Wahlberg could sleepwalk through this role, and does. See this movie and you'll surely follow his lead.
  27. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jan 12, 2012
    50
    Let's start by admitting three things: that Contraband is a ridiculous movie, that it wasn't meant to be a ridiculous movie, and that it's an enjoyable movie. One of the things that makes it enjoyable is that it's so ridiculous.
  28. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jan 12, 2012
    50
    Contraband has a few moments of tension, but it adheres to a predictable heist formula hardly worth trafficking in.
  29. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jan 12, 2012
    50
    A big comedown from "The Fighter," Contraband finds Wahlberg in default mode: With his Popeye biceps and broody stares, the actor can do a character like Chris without even thinking about it - and that's what he does here.
  30. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jan 12, 2012
    50
    Contraband is the kind of thriller that offers just enough in the way of effective elements to assemble a two-minute trailer. When it comes to a 110-minute feature, however, the sketchiness of the plotting and the director's lack of sure-handedness sink the project.
  31. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Jan 11, 2012
    50
    Contraband is based on an Icelandic thriller named "Reykjavik-Rotterdam," which leads you to suspect that neither New Orleans nor Panama City is particularly essential to the plot. That film starred Baltasar Kormakur, who is the director of this one, perhaps as a demonstration that many stars believe they could direct this crap themselves if they ever had the chance.
  32. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 18, 2012
    40
    It's a thriller in which the twists become so absurd that it becomes a kind of caper, but without the humour.
  33. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Jan 14, 2012
    40
    The movie amounts to little more than Marky Mark's South American Vacation.
  34. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jan 12, 2012
    40
    Only Wahlberg rises above the muck; everything else here feels buried in concrete.
  35. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jan 12, 2012
    30
    It's exactly the sort of movie that Hollywood specializes in, the kind which seems on paper as if it ought to be entertaining, but winds up a massive and chaotic drag.
  36. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Jan 11, 2012
    25
    Heist, swindle, and other like-minded genre films thrive or flounder on the mechanics of their story's dangerously elaborate scheme, a fact ably proven by Contraband, a tale of high-seas smuggling without a clever thought in its leaden, derivative head.
  37. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jan 13, 2012
    12
    Contraband aims to be dumb fun but gets only the first half right.
  38. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Jan 12, 2012
    10
    Several graphically violent scenes of women and children in jeopardy make this, ultimately, beneath contempt.
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 128 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 41
  2. Negative: 7 out of 41
  1. Feb 17, 2012
    6
    Contraband is a cool crime movie. It is fun, dark, and suspenseful. Mark Whalberg has a great future ahead of him.
  2. Jan 16, 2012
    5
    Not a horrible film, but not one I'd recommend either. It tried to be clever and suspenseful but failed. You pretty well know what your goingNot a horrible film, but not one I'd recommend either. It tried to be clever and suspenseful but failed. You pretty well know what your going to get from the trailer and the surprise plot twists were no surprise at all or they came completely out of left field and didn't advance the story. Another complaint I have with the film is the pacing. The action tried to feel non-stop and frantic but the story takes place over a couple weeks not days. It just didn't flow. All in all I paid matinee price on a lazy afternoon and I'm not asking for my money back. If your a big Mark Walburg fan you'll find less fault with it. Full Review »
  3. Jan 18, 2012
    10
    A former smuggler (Mark Wahlberg), a move away from life, now runs his own security firm, and a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale), and threeA former smuggler (Mark Wahlberg), a move away from life, now runs his own security firm, and a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale), and three great kids, life can not be any better s. Until his wife's brother, is a smuggler, and a work of messes. This put him and his family, dangerous drug dealer (Giovanni Ribisi) in danger. So, now back to its old ways of the old smuggler order to save his family, but he is, or will be over his head?

    A pretty entertaining crime thriller. Mark Wahlberg is the title role, a tough guy like the old style. Kate Beckinsale as his wife alright, but it was not strong enough. Giovanni Ribisi is evil, it was awesome, enjoy it just does not like him. Lucas Haas and Ben Foster are also too good. In addition, a crime drama, really hard to satisfy you. Predicable moments, but it can still be entertaining.
    You can watch it here momomesh.com
    Full Review »