Contraband with Mark Wahlberg

Movie snobs may look down their noses at the good old-fashioned action thriller, but there is nothing better for a Friday or Saturday night at the cinema than a gripping thriller with plenty of exciting scenes.

Mark Wahlberg’s new film “Contraband” is ideal for a weekend trip to the cinema. Packed with crooks, guns, car chases, explosion and bent cops it has everything that every good action movie needs; and on top of that it has a lively script and an impressive cast.

Wahlberg is ex-con Chris Farraday, a man who has been persuaded to turn his back on a life of crime by his wife, British actress Kate Beckinsale. Farraday has settled into his role as a happy family man and has no desire to get drawn back into his old way of life.

Unfortunately, his brother-in-law (Avatar’s Giovanni Ribisi) has other ideas and when a drug deal goes horribly awry and the bad guys are out for revenge, he seeks help from Wahlberg who finds himself back on the wrong side of the law to protect his family.

“Contraband” is actually a remake of a successful European film, as many of the best recent Hollywood movies have been. However, fans of the original, “ Reykjavik-Rotterdam” will find little that is recognisable in the US version other than a nod towards the original storyline.

“ Reykjavik-Rotterdam” was actually the official entry from Iceland into the 2010 Oscars, a clear indication of how the Hollywood touch has changed what was an intelligent and fast-paced thriller into a fairly brainless by-the-book action film.

Of course, sometimes all we want as moviegoers is to relax for a couple of hours and to be entertained without having to engage our brains. If that’s the kind of Friday night film you’re looking for, then “Contraband” is the perfect choice.