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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There's some teamwork, with characters needing to solve a dangerous problem quickly, but they use illegal and immoral means to do so. The main characters generally show empathy, but only to people already in their little circle; others get the opposite treatment.
Positive Role Models
The hero is a trustworthy, reliable family man. But he resorts to illegal activities, violence, and trickery in a pinch. He also swears nonstop.
Violence & Scariness
The worst violence happens when a vicious gangster threatens the main character's wife and kids while he's away. The gangster beats up the wife, and a henchman pulls a gun on the kids (who are about 8 or 10). Later, the wife is nearly sexually assaulted and then beaten further; she's knocked into unconsciousness. Also one major scene of shooting and killing, with lots of blood and several dead bodies, plus some hand-to-hand fighting and a few car crashes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A loving married couple kisses and says "I love you." Some brief innuendo.
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Almost constant swearing, with either "f--k" or "s--t" said literally every couple of minutes. Other, less frequently heard words include "p---y," "ass,""c--t," "a--hole," "hell," "goddamn," and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character refuses to smuggle drugs, but the bad guys make their living smuggling cocaine. Viewers see big sealed bags of it, and characters occasionally snort some. A secondary character is a recovering alcoholic. He attends an AA meeting but falls off the wagon and drinks whisky in a bar. Characters are also seen drinking beer at a wedding, and minor characters are seen smoking cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Contraband is an intense action thriller about a former smuggler (played by Mark Wahlberg) who's forced to go back into business to protect his family. Expect distressing violence: The bad guys beat up and nearly sexually assault the main character's wife, as well as point guns at his tween kids. There's also fighting, shooting, killing, and blood. Language is another major issue, with characters saying either "f--k" or "s--t" literally every couple of minutes. The bad guys smuggle cocaine, and viewers see huge bricks of it; characters are also seen snorting some. A secondary character is a recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
CONTRABAND's plot (remade from a 2008 Icelandic thriller) is pretty creaky, but Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur's execution is scrappy and energetic. The movie begins at ground level, with an authentically urban, working-class feel around Chris; it's similar in this regard to the atmosphere of The Fighter. Using this as a basis, Kormakur very simply keeps raising the stakes.
The story grows more and more absurd, but each new wrinkle generates more suspense. Kormakur isn't particularly good at subtle things (like revealing a secret twist or creating a moment of discovery), and the action could have been cleaner and sharper, but most of the movie is based around big events, and they're very satisfying. It's more about guts than brains, along with generating supreme tension. The strong cast also includes J.K. Simmons as a cranky ship's captain and Lukas Haas as a nervous helper.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.