It never bodes well for a movie when you are more excited about who is behind the camera instead of what is going on in front of it; in this case, it’s the Icelandic actor Baltasar Kormakur making his directorial debut.
He appeared back in 2008 in an Icelandic action flick called Reykavik-Rotterdam, now he is directing it’s remake. Not the most interesting of facts you may think, but it is honestly the most interesting thing about this whole sorry debacle. Yes ,you can argue that it has a decent cast, but we all know from past stinkers that a good cast does not necessarily a good film make.
Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi, Kate Beckinsale and Ben Foster are all here, and make no difference whatsoever. This thriller by numbers revolves around Wahlberg’s character who is a former smuggler, and his best friend (Foster). They are pulled out of retirement to do one last job to save the formers screwed up brother in law from a drug dealer (Ribisi). Wahlberg’s wife (Beckinsale) is threatened for leverage, blah blah.
We have all seen this film before, what we have here is a shoddy Gone in 60 Seconds without any cars. Wahlberg teams up with a team of guys to smuggle counterfeit money worth millions out of Panama on a freight ship, and this film, for a while anyway, desperately tries to be an Oceans 11 or the Italian Job.
The main problem here is that the characters are so insignificant that it fails on every level. Everyone knows Wahlberg is going to make it back safely and protect his wife from the threats, so every ridiculous scenario that takes place down Panama way is pointless and boring as we all know the outcome.
You have to feel sorry for the guys in his team, especially the terrific Lukas Hass who’s talents are criminally wasted here, as their introduction is courtesy of one of the most dire montages you are ever likely to see. They aren’t even fleshed out, so it hard to give a damn about characters who don’t even seem real, and whether they live or die doesn’t matter one iota.
It is impossible to find any kind of emotional connection with this film, and even the dramatic scenes involving the wife back home are so contrived, it seems as if they have been added as a desperate attempt to make us root for the hero. The post-Katerina setting of New Orleans is also wasted; this could have added something badly needed in this film, but we get a few lame shots that could, quite frankly, have been filmed anywhere.
You can see why Kormakur wanted to remake an English version of what was originally quite a good film, but he can’t have envisaged for a second how badly it would all go wrong. Contraband should be treat in the same way that customs deal with the drugs they confiscate from smugglers, and you should avoid this pile of manure at all costs.